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4:26pm 02/02/2022
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Here comes the Tiger

Sin Chew Daily

The 2022 Year of the Tiger is anticipated to be an auspicious year, at least a much better year than the previous two years.

In short, this year should see many people leading prosperous lives while businesses recover and thrive.

And hopefully, the Year of the Tiger will bring great tidings of humans triumphing over the crafty coronavirus.

In the past, we used to look back at the year just passed as we would look forward to the year to come.

Well, let’s do it now!

As a matter of fact, the Year of the Ox that has just passed was not a very good one. While we hoped at the dawn of the year that we would survive the pandemic and there would be hope ahead of us, but look what turned out in the end: nothing really good happened here and elsewhere on this planet!

By right, the worst will be behind us in the Year of the Tiger, and what Malaysians are most concerned now is how to heal the wounds and stop the pains; how the government is going to revive the bruised economy and stabilize the political climate.

1. The pandemic: There wasn’t a day throughout the past one year when we could take a breather from the smothering pandemic. So far more than 370 million people have been infected by the virus worldwide, 5.65 million killed.

Here in Malaysia we used to be in the very eye of the pandemic storm, but thanks to the emergence of the vaccines and the high vaccination rate, with a third booster dose now administered to a big part of the country’s population and vaccination now extended to children aged five and above, the prospect of putting the virus under containment looks quite promising.

2. The economy: Earlier last year, finance minister Tengku Zafrul predicted the country’s economy to grow by a robust 6.5% in 2021. Unfortunately, the subsequent MCO as a consequence of worsening pandemic forced the government to revise the quarterly forecasts downward to around 3.5%, still a shade better than the 2.5% predicted earlier. However, the overall GDP performance was not yet back to the 2019 pre-pandemic level and significantly poorer than the global average of 5.9% expansion.

For 2022, the economy is expected to grow by around 6%, but this is only achievable if the government would come up with effective measures to salvage the anemic economy.

3. Last year, we saw the progressive recovery of the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, although the services and retail sector which contributes 58% to the national economy remained very much stagnant throughout the year and was almost back to the 2016 level!

To revitalize the economy, we will need to boost the local tourism industry which employs about 22% of the country’s total workforce and was once contributing 14% to the country’s GDP.

Tourist revenue plummeted by a whopping RM129.7 billion in 2020, taking 8.8% out of that year’s GDP. That’s why the prime minister has announced to liberalize entry requirements for foreigners. What we need now is solid action from the government to bring this into fruition.

4. Politics: The political chaos is expected to continue well into the Year of the Tiger because the politicians who did nothing to mitigate the pandemic will find joy creating troubles and elections.

The Johor state election is slated for March. And the 15th general election? Anytime from July to November is possible. So there’ll be lasting peace after the election? Of course not, because people from different political alliances and different factions within the same alliance will never be able to get along.

Peace is a remote dream in Malaysian politics and perhaps Malaysians will have to learn to be indifferent to politics in the Year of the Tiger. It is therefore not advisable for friends to fight over their political differences.

By right we should have hope that the pandemic, economy and politics will head down the right way in the year ahead of us. We have had two very tough years behind us, and it’s now time to look forward to a happy and serene life in the year ahead, as we strive to put the missing puzzle pieces of our lives back in place after two  wasted years.

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