A very good morning and welcome to the ACCCIM Media Conference on the Survey Report of the Economic Situation of Malaysia for the 2nd half of 2016. ACCCIM’s survey on the economic situation of Malaysia is conducted bi-annually to gauge the economic situation faced by Chinese businesses in the survey period.
This survey covered：
(i) the Malaysian economic situation in the 2nd half of 2016;
(ii) Major factors affecting business performance;
(iii) the economic outlook of Malaysia;
(iv) current issues and challenges regarding trade, investment and industrial development in Malaysia.
In general, the business community believes that the Malaysian economy has experienced some improvements in the 2nd half of 2016. One and a half years ago, in the survey of the 1st half of 2015, 75% respondents were of the view that the Malaysian economy had deteriorated; in contrast, the percentage has improved to 56% in this survey. Indeed, some 11% of respondents believed that there were signs of economic recovery. Overall, the Chinese business community is somewhat more optimistic about the economic outlook for Malaysia for 2017 and 2018, which may improve further in 2019.
Major factors adversely affecting the business performance for the 2nd half of 2016 were Government policies, the increase of operating costs and the rising cost of raw materials. In particular, businesses would like the Government to implement more business-friendly policies rather than formulating more regulations and measures to govern business operations and activities. When facing global economy challenges, positive support from the Government is crucial in enhancing business competitiveness and development.
At this juncture, I would like to thank both YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak and YAB Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi, the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia respectively, for meeting representatives of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) in January and February to discuss business and industry issues. These discussions were useful in improving collaboration between the Government and businesses as well as shaping a more conducive business environment that will attract more investments.
We would also like to thank the Government for listening to the views of the business community in reviewing the policy of hiring and managing foreign workers. The Government has formed a Special Task Force under the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Human Resources in response to NCCIM’s recommendations, and we hope that comprehensive solutions on foreign workers can be resolved once and for all.
Nevertheless, the high cost of doing business, the weakening Ringgit, the shortage of manpower, inflationary pressures, cautious consumer sentiments, etc. remain issues that are hampering businesses. These will also need to be addressed. As for businesses themselves, businesses must continue to self-improve, to take advantage of the latest technologies, to acquire new knowledge or expertise, to expand networks, and to be creative in responding to changes in the social, political and economic environment.
On our part, ACCCIM will continue to provide platforms for businesses to expand globally. At the same time, I would like to urge businesses to make good use of NCCIM’s platform in exploring other markets by participating in economic conferences, seminars or overseas trade missions organised by the NCCIM.
This survey covered a wide range of topics affecting commerce and industry, including the effects of exchange rate on exports, the trend of the Ringgit, how businesses cope with the minimum wage, the increased cost of doing business, the impact of cost and difficulties in hiring foreign workers on business performance and its alternative solutions, the Anti-Profiteering Mechanism, the Companies Act 2016, the US interest rate hikes, and so on. Dr. Leong Kai Hin, the National Council Member and Chairman of ACCCIM’s Commerce Committee, will brief you further on the findings of the survey.
Finally, ACCCIM would like to thank the Economic Survey Unit of the Commerce Committee and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) for their joint effort in completing this survey. We also wish to express our gratitude to the media for your support and extensive coverage on the report of the survey.