Nor: US learning economic lesson from Malaysia

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 06 Apr 2008

DANANG (Vietnam): Ten years after slamming Malaysia’s unorthodox policy measures in dealing with the Asian financial crisis, “the under-siege United States is learning a lesson from us,” said Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

He said the United States, likely to slip into a recession due to its sub-prime mortgage crisis, was doing what Malaysia did when the Asian financial crisis erupted in 1997.

Malaysia suffered less severe economic problems than the other countries embroiled in that crisis as it took measures to eliminate speculative trading in its currency and revitalise its economy.

“(It was what) they told us not to do, but which we did. They are (now) doing exactly what we did,” he said in an interview at the end of the 12th Asean Finance Ministers Meeting here.

Finance ministers from the 10 Asean members and their counterparts from the three dialogue partners – China, Japan and South Korea – met on Thursday and Friday, with deliberations centred on the roadmap for monetary and financial integration of the regional grouping.

During the Asian financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) instructed the crisis-affected countries to cut spending, a recessionary policy that deepened the economic slowdown.

“Now, it looks as if the US is learning a lesson from Malaysia,” said Nor Mohamed.

He said the Asean ministers and their dialogue partners also agreed to strengthen their resilience against any meltdown, among them, through the Chiangmai Initiative established in 2000 to create a network of bilateral swap arrangements among its members.

Nor Mohamed also said the Asean+Plus 3 fund was likely to have a pool of US$80bil (RM254bil) to US$100bil (RM318bil) but without any involvement of the IMF, World Bank or the Asian Development Bank.

The criteria for using the fund, aimed at supporting members in overcoming economic threats, will be discussed further at the finance ministers meeting in Madrid next month, he added. – Bernama

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