ACCCIM MEDIA CONFERENCE on Survey Report on Economic Situation of Malaysia for the 2nd Half of Year 2013
21-3-2014 (Friday), 11.30 am,
ACCCIM Conference RoomSpeech by Dato’ Lim Kok Cheong, President of ACCCIM
1. First of all, I would like to express my appreciation to all the media representatives for your presence this morning.
2. The global economy grew at a slower pace. The Malaysian economy remains confronted with challenges and uncertainties. Findings from the past ACCCIM surveys reflected that the business community has experienced continuous challenges in doing business. Given the weak domestic demand and deterioration in sales performance, more and more SMEs compete fiercely with each other. There were some businesses forced to lower selling prices to maintain their sales volume or to reduce number of employees to stay in business.
3. In year 2013, the business community was affected by several policies announced by the Government such as minimum wage policy, the extension of retirement age and petrol price increased due to fuel subsidies cut. This was followed by rise in electricity tariffs this year and implementation of GST in year 2015 and so on. These measures were no doubt leading to an increase on cost of doing business and thus contributing to the inflationary pressure in Malaysia. More businesses are caught in a dilemma in a wake of difficulties in managing the rising costs and inability for companies to pass-on the cost increased to consumers. It was announced by Tan Sri Zeti, Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia on Wednesday (19 March) the deferment of the implementation 50 sen levy on cheques from April 1, 2014 to January 1 next year, ACCCIM commended Bank Negara on this pragmatic and realistic deferment.
4. It was reported that the Malaysian economy grew by 4.7% for the whole year of 2013 and the growth momentum is expected to remain on a steady trajectory. However, the government be urged to take heed of difficulties of the businesses and at the same time the business community continue look towards to Government’s support by adopting business-friendly policies, for instance to reduce the corporate tax rate, to freeze all proposed increment in public utilities charges, review constantly and gradually reduce subsidies, prudent in controlling public expenditure, effective in reducing fiscal deficit and red tape, etc. This would maintain the competitiveness of Malaysian companies to ensure the continuity of economic growth.
5. On the other hand, businesses would inevitably need to adjust their business strategy immediately for cost efficiency as well as the improvement of strength and productivity. Also, utilise the existing consultation services, tax incentives, market development grant and other facilities provided by government agencies to further strengthen the competitiveness of the companies, and also to explore international market and to expand sales network.
6. The ACCCIM survey for the 2nd half of year 2013 covered some current issues in relation to the Government policies and measures, namely Real Property Gain Tax (RPGT), Goods and Service Tax (GST), Rising in Cost of Doing Business and so on.
Chairman of the ACCCIM Commerce Committee Dr. Leong Kai Hin will brief on the survey findings in a short while.
Last but not least, I commend ACCCIM Commerce Committee and UTAR for their efforts in preparing this survey report. I also take this opportunity to thank the media for your support and cooperation in giving continued coverage on this survey exercise.