PETALING JAYA: The global economic slowdown, coupled with the devalued ringgit and the US-China trade war, are among factors that showed the need for a special body to deal with such challenges and to cushion the impact of any uncertainty, say economic professors.
Describing the government’s move to have a body to address issues linked to the economy as “timely”, Prof Datuk Dr Amir Hussin Baharuddin said there should be multi-disciplinary action plans to deal with challenges amplified by the US-China trade war and Brexit, among others.
“We must find creative ways to protect our economy and face the storm head-on. We can’t fight them but we must be prepared to face them,” he said.
On Friday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad spoke about the setting up of a body, similar to the National Economic Action Council (NEAC), to adddress economic matters in the country.
NEAC was formed in 1998 to protect Malaysia’s global competitiveness, and strengthen the economic base amidst the Asian financial crisis, among others.
Dr Amir said experts from various disciplines including psychology, sociology and international relations should be roped in to help find out-of-the-box solutions in dealing with challenges associated with economic uncertainties and the volatile market.
“While it is important to make people understand the challenges faced, the government must also take measures to help cushion the blow by ensuring access to basic needs including affordable homes and goods,” he said.
Sunway University’s economics professor Dr Yeah Kim Leng said the global economic slowdown and US-China trade war would certainly affect domestic confidence.
“But we can weather the storm with strong fundamentals and a stable financial market.
“To boost economic condition and efficiency, a mechanism should be in place for policy coordination, fast track approval, and effective implementations in public as well as private sectors,” he said.
Prof Yeah hoped that representatives from the private sector would also be roped in to provide input in facing challenges from the Industrial Revolution 4.0.
Prof Dr Edmund Terence Gomez of Universiti Malaya questioned the actual function of the new panel and whether the Economic Planning Unit and the Economic Affairs Ministry would sit on it.
He also asked about the report by the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP).
“Where is that CEP report? And the CEP was disbanded after 100 days. Why do we need to form another panel now to see what the CEP had looked at?”