Malaysia must be agile to overcome economic challenges, says Zafrul

International Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz. – Bernama

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Malaysia needs to be dynamic and agile when making investment plans so that the country can adapt faster to any disruptions in the global supply chain, says Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

The International Trade and Industry Minister said that his ministry would continue to look for other future opportunities that can give an advantage to the country while focusing on the five core investments under the National Investment Aspirations.

“We currently have five key focus sectors such as the digital economy, electrical and electronics (E&E), pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, and aerospace, but who knows what kind of technology might be created in the next five years.

“For example, Malaysia currently has 7% of the global market share in the E&E and semiconductor sectors, which is the fruit of 50 years worth of planning.

“There are even calls for us to venture into the medical equipment and electrical vehicles sectors as we already have the ecosystem in place so we don’t have to be fixated on these five key sectors,” he said.

He said this after conducting a working visit to GKN Aerospace, Gelang Patah, here, on Tuesday (March 7).

Zafrul said this when asked to comment on the country’s preparation for the slow economic growth forecast issued by Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research on Feb 13.

The ministry has given these five industries special attention as they are targeted to have the most impact on the nation's gross domestic product (GDP), he added.

“These are the investments that have the most impact on local job opportunities and earnings for the local talents, besides the spillover effect on our economy.

“There will always be challenges in any economic slowdown, but at the same time, there will also be opportunities. For example, during the pandemic, our trade increased due to global supply chain disruption.

“The most important thing is that we need to have plans for 10 to 20 years to come and be agile and dynamic enough so that when opportunities come for Malaysia to play a more important role in the global economy, we can act fast,” he added.

On Feb 14, The Edge reported that Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research had maintained its forecast for Malaysia’s real GDP growth to slow to 4% in 2023, from 8.7% in 2022.

The firm said the latest data showed that growth had already slowed to 7% year-on-year (y-o-y) in the fourth quarter of 2022 (4Q2022), from 14.2% in the previous quarter, and the slowdown was broad-based.

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