ARAU: There are signs that the economy has responded positively to the stimulus package announced by the Government some two weeks back, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.
He said the rise of the Composite Index of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE) was a positive indicator, as investor confidence seemed to be returning.
Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is also the Finance Minister, announced a wide-ranging package and incentives to boost the economy following worrying external factors such as SARS and the Iraqi war.
Nevertheless, Abdullah said it was still too early to experience the full effects of the stimulus package.
He said this after officiating the ground-breaking ceremony of the Northern Malaysia University College of Engineering's (Kukum) main campus in Ulu Pauh.
Besides drumming up confidence among domestic investors, he said foreign fund managers also seemed to be responding positively to the stimulus package.
We hope the confidence was on a long-term basis as this would help the economy to sustain stable growth, he added.
Asked to elaborate on his advice to civil servants in his speech, Abdullah said he had stressed on the importance for civil servants to effectively implement measures introduced under the stimulus package.
We want the public and private sectors to work closely and understand what was happening to ensure speedy recovery of the economy. They must distinguish the difference. The agent of economic recovery lies with the public sector while the agent of growth belongs to the private sector. They must do their level best to understand this concept.
Earlier, Abdullah urged institutions of higher learning to offer a variety of academic subjects instead of merely focusing on core degrees.
He said through an assortment of courses, these institutions could help realise the Governments aim to turn the country into an education hub.
Abdullah said the Government welcomed the establishment of higher learning institutions but they must offer quality, enrichment and wide ranging programmes to attract more foreign students.
We must have a good mixture and suitable number of academic courses and not just rely on one particular subject, he said.
Asked about the mushrooming of academic institutions including those initiated by political parties, Abdullah said this was part of the Education Ministrys policy to produce skilled workers.