THE government is right in wanting to introduce an economic stimulus package to cope with the anticipated slowdown of the economy due to external factors. Here are some ideas that the government may want to consider.
To offset lower tourist arrivals from China, provide visa on arrival incentives to more countries in South Asia, Africa, Europe, Middle East and South America. This can be done as it is only for a one-year period.
Send trade delegations to promote Malaysian exports to more countries. Malaysia must also go for a win-win situation in that it must export and also import more.
Do not go for mega construction projects to increase public spending, as only about 20% of benefits (multiplier and spillover effects) accrue to Malaysia; the rest goes to the foreign workers who remit money to their own countries.
The impending slowdown is going to affect a wide range of SMEs, resulting in unemployment. Have an amnesty programme to repatriate foreign workers. This will increase opportunities for Malaysian workers. Stop the large-scale recruitment of foreign workers. Set up an SME fund to help the affected industries.
Promote joint venture (JV) projects especially between Chinese entrepreneurs and Malaysians. With the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese businessmen may want to set up industries in other countries to minimise risk. Malaysia can come up with incentives to promote these JVs.
Improve intra-Asean and commonwealth trade. With the United Kingdom out of the EU, it is a good chance to make it a premier trading partner, as was the case in the 1950s and 1960s.
Increase oil palm replanting by felling older trees thereby creating a reduced supply for a short period. The breakthrough in the China-US trade talks means China would be buying more soy bean and corn oil from the United States, which means reduced demand for palm oil from Malaysia.
Promote the Malaysia My Second Home Concept to more countries. The rich from these countries can be made to invest in industries in Malaysia if attractive incentives are given.
Develop more agricultural projects, especially for big scale cultivation of fruits and vegetables to become less dependent on costly imports.
Reduce expenditure and wastage in the government sector. Spend more money on building and maintaining roads. Many of these are in poor condition as they are not regularly resurfaced.
ANISH PUTHENVILA MATHEW , Sungai Buloh, Selangor
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