KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia could cushion the effect of a possible war in Iraq by increasing domestic demand, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz.
She said although the war could have adverse effect on the country, the Government could try to accelerate economic growth by increasing domestic demand.
“Not that we could cover fully whatever shortages there are in the external sector but the gap will not be damaging because of our diverse fundamentals,” she said in an interview in Bicara Bernama over Astro Ria last night.
Rafidah said local entrepreneurs should also make a switch from traditional sectors such as construction to other productive sectors such as manufacturing.
In the event of war, she said foreign investors might be more attracted to Malaysia because of the Asean market, not jeopardised by war unlike the American and Middle East markets.
Rafidah, who is also Wanita Umno chief, was also asked on what the country's political situation would be like after the resignation of Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister in October.
She said she did not think that there would be a mass resignation of Cabinet ministers, noting that the proponents of such idea were ignorant of the responsibilities of Cabinet ministers.
“When Pak Lah (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) becomes PM, it will be up to him then (on who should go and stay),” she said.
Second Finance Minister Datuk Dr Jamaludin Jarjis said the private sector needed to inject more direct domestic investments to help spur the country's economic growth.
This was also to shield the economy in the event of war in Iraq, he told reporters after opening simultaneous Umno branch meeting in the Bukit Bintang division here. –Bernama
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