‘Economic outlook remains challenging’

THE economic outlook is expected to remain challenging in the last quarter of this year and into 2022 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Iskandar Malaysia Johor Chamber of Commerce and Industry adviser Md Salikon Sarpin said businesses would continue to need assistance.

“Things are not looking good and nobody knows how long this situation will last,’’ he said when contacted by StarMetro.

He urged the state and Federal governments to look into ways to grow the economy, including through stimulus packages.

“While the government has come out with several incentives, there is room for improvement,’’ he added.

Johor should learn from Singapore which had managed to attract foreign investors to the republic amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said Salikon.

He said the Johor government needed to start attracting more high-technology and capital-intensive investments and reduce its dependence on labour-intensive investments.

Johor South SME adviser Teh Kee Sin said the state would be competing with neighbouring countries seeking quality investors post-pandemic.

He said policy flip-flops and confusing standard operating procedure had not helped.

“This has created a bad image for our country,’’ said Teh, noting that foreign investors might reconsider their decision to invest in Malaysia.

“This may affect states like Johor which is one of the top investment destinations in the country.”

Teh also opined that Iskandar Malaysia had failed to bring in high-tech companies to the country’s first economic growth corridor as Johor was short of professionals and highly-skilled workers.

“Our skilled workforce has gone to Singapore and if Johor wants to attract more capital-intensive investors, it has to address the shortage of highly-skilled workers,’’ he said.

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