Government plans for new normal


  • Economy
  • Friday, 29 May 2020

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed: “A number of short term plans have been announced by the Finance Ministry and they are now working on some medium term plans which I am also a part of.”

PETALING JAYA: The government is in the midst of formulating longer term policy measures for the country’s economy to transit to the new normal of doing things, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

“These are short, medium and long term plans (that are being thought of) for the country.

“A number of short term plans have been announced by the Finance Ministry and they are now working on some medium term plans which I am also a part of, ” Mustapa said in his closing address at the “Growing Business Against The Tides of Disruptions” webinar.

“My focus will be on the longer term plans for the country.

“Some of these are the structural changes that are happening, such as e-learning; some people in the rural areas don’t have laptops nor smartphones so they don’t have access to it.

“These are issues which have surfaced and it is a structural problem which needs to be addressed by the government with high priority, ” he added.

These long term plans will be announced by the government in the next three to four months, Mustapa said.

He said that the government had learnt much through the Covid-19 crisis and acknowledged that the country is now in the midst of a “very deep recession.”

He said the Economic Action Council had recently been upgraded to a decision-making body.

“The priority now is to ensure that companies and the various sectors of the Malaysian economy respond quickly to the decision taken by the government, ” he said.

“We need patience, agility and to respond very quickly to this changing landscape based on data and statistics with lots of engagements, ” he added.

Mustapa said other areas that will be addressed by the government included structural reforms in the area of foreign labour.

“This needs a major redo for this country.

“In the last few weeks a few challenges have been exposed, including accommodation for these foreign workers.

“We have other issues such as hotels that are closing their business and the tourism industry, ” he said.

Mustapa also said that there has been a re-definition of work now from the typical 9-5pm job towards the gig economy and the government will also look into this area.

He said all these structural changes in the economy would be factored into the long term plans that his ministry is formulating for the country.

“Farmers have become more digital while I have met some people in the logistics companies and they are experiencing good business.

“As a country, we need to take into account all these structural changes and factor into our long term planning, ” he said.

“In other words, what was relevant a few months ago, say in January and February of this year is not relevant anymore moving forward, ” he added.

Mustapa noted that foreign direct investments (FDIs) and domestic investments continue to be a very important pillar of growth for the country.

“We need to ensure that domestic investors continue to put money into this country. There must be confidence in Malaysia and this is important: consumer, business and foreign inventors confidence. Malaysian Investment Development Authority will come up with new strategies moving forward to ensure we continue to maintain our position in the key export sectors, ” he said.

These key export sectors include in the area of electrical and electronics (E&E) exports and the manufacturing sector.

Meanwhile, Malaysia External Trade Development Corp CEO Wan Latiff Wan Musa said that he believes the global supply chain will remain intact despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I don’t think there is any single country that can produce everything. Whether we like it or not we would still have to depend on each other. International trade is about leveraging on the respective comparative advantages of (different) economies, ” he said.

He said countries would need various raw materials, technology, knowledge or labour to produce a product that could not only be sourced from a sole country.

“The global supply chain will remain intact more so especially for complex supply chains such as the E&E industry, ” Wan Latiff said.

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