JOHOR BARU: Former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz and economist Tan Sri Kamal Salih have been rumoured to be among the big names in the soon-to-be-announced lineup for the Johor State Economic Reform Committee (SERC).
Mentri Besar Johor Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the committee, which aimed to facilitate the state’s economic reforms and recovery post-Covid-19, would comprise those with expertise or a strong economic or industrial background at the regional or global level.
“Tan Sri Zeti is one of the renowned figures that I think would be able to help, given her wealth of experience in the banking sector, especially in our efforts to develop digital banks in the state.
“We have shortlisted the names of some experts; there are many of them and there are many factors that I need to consider, but I will try to cut it down to a number that would result in the best possible discussion outcome for Johor, ” he said.
Hasni told Bernama this during an exclusive interview at the Mentri Besar’s official residence here, recently.
Zeti, 73, is a renowned economic figure who played a key role in drafting the nation’s economic plan post-Asian Financial Crisis in 1998, and she was also the Bank Negara governor from May 2000 to April 2016.
Meanwhile, Kamal, 74,(pic) who is currently the chairman of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, had been a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Panel in 1981-1986.
Other corporate figures from various sectors with investments in Johor can also help by giving inputs to the committee, especially with regards to the state government’s efforts in planning for economic reforms and recovery post-Covid-19, said Hasni.
“We have got a large investment from Petronas, and we are also not short of successful icons in the oil and gas industry.
“We also have a number of investments by Khazanah Nasional, including the Desaru Coast and Iskandar Malaysia; their investments encompass many sectors so they will be able to help, and these are the factors that we need to consider in selecting committee members, ” he said.
Hasni said the establishment of the SERC is similar to the establishment of the National Economic Action Council, but it has a much bigger challenge at hand, which is to restore the economy which had been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 15, the state government announced its plan to establish the SERC to reinvigorate Johor’s economy post-Covid-19.
“The SERC will make its recommendations through an economic reform plan which will include short-, medium- and long-term policies, procedures and strategic directions towards reforming Johor’s economy post-Covid-19, ” said Hasni, who is also the chairman for the committee. He added that the SERC will also advise the state government on new economic areas, regional cooperation and high-impact initiatives to create a sustainable Johor economic ecosystem, while recommending improvements to the Johor Sustainable Development Plan 2019-2030 in the post-Covid-19 context. — Bernama
The economic reform plan also includes the establishment of a digital bank to boost the growth of the state’s digital economy and its economy in the future; and if everything goes according to plan, Johor will become the first state in Malaysia to have a digital bank.
According to the official website of the Johor State Economic Planning Division, the state was the fourth highest contributor to the national gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018.
The state’s GDP stood at RM130.5 billion in 2018, and contributed 9.6 per cent to the country’s GDP.
TAG: Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Kamal Salleh, State Economic Reform Committee, Johor, post-COVID-19