ACCCIM Survey Reports

ACCCIM Malaysia’s Business and Economic Conditions Survey (M-BECS) Report (1h 2023 And 2h 2023f)

The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) released the results of bi-annual “Malaysia’s Business and Economic Conditions Survey (M-BECS) on the economic and business performance as well as outlook in Malaysia in 1H (January-June) 2023 and expectations for 2H (July-December) 2023.

It was conducted during the period between 27 April and 14 July 2023 and a total of 692 respondents participated in the survey.

Key Summary of the M-BECS Findings

The Malaysian economy expanded at a moderate pace in recent months on falling exports for four successive months in June since March, slower industrial output and manufacturing sales. Businesses are grappling with high cost of production and operating costs amid slowing demand. Cautious consumer discretionary spending was weighed down by inflation and rising cost of living as well as higher interest rates.

(a) Overall, a large majority of respondents (66.8%) have “neutral” views on domestic economic conditions in 1H 2023. The percentage of respondents being either ‘‘better’’ or ‘‘worse’’ is at 33.2%, with 23.7% reporting “worse”, higher than only 9.5% indicated “better” economic conditions. A higher percentage (24.5%) of respondents expect “worse” conditions in 2H 2023 relative to “better” by 19.1% of respondents. 33.0% of respondents expect improving economic prospects in 1H 2024.

(b) When it comes to business conditions, the numbers showed that most respondents maintained “neutral” views (65.5% in 1H 2023; 56.6% in 2H 2023). 32.6% of respondents expect ‘better’ business conditions in 1H 2024.

(c) About one-third of the respondents in the manufacturing sector and more than 20% in the wholesale and retail trade, and trading industry experienced “worse” business conditions in 1H 2023. The tourism-related sector displayed mixed business conditions, with 17.4% reporting both “better” and “worse” conditions, respectively.

(d) Over 70% of respondents across eight sectors reported an increase in the cost of local and imported raw materials in 1H 2023 despite softening of global commodity prices. The increasing cost trend is likely to continue in 2H 2023.

(e) Labour demand remains intact, with 49.1% of respondents maintaining their employees while 38.2% have increased their manpower in 1H 2023.

(f) Most companies still plan to increase their investment capital expenditure. 63.9% of respondents have increased their capital expenditure in 1H 2023, though slightly lower than 64.5% forecasted in the previous survey. 62.2% of respondents are expecting to increase their investment in 2H 2023.

M-BECS’s topical issue: Quality of Public Services Delivery

In this survey, we gauge the performance of public services delivery for selected Ministries and government agencies.

Maintaining good quality and governance of public services are critical to the lives of citizens, businesses and investors. There is a well-established connection between a strong, merit-based public service and high rates of economic growth. The effectiveness and efficiency of the public sector are vital to ensuring the success of economic development and business investment activities.

The results revealed that none of the assessed components of selected Ministries and government agencies has a score above 3 (fairly satisfied), suggesting there is room for improvement in delivering high-quality public services. Respondents have cited communication issues, attitudes of personnel, and concerns about the data transparency and timeliness of information and data dissemination.

Urgent attention is needed in areas like online services, problem-solving mindset, and timeliness, especially in the digital era and demanding customers’ expectations, effective and efficient online communication are crucial.

We proposed the following recommendations:
(a) Capacity building development should focus on enhancing leadership, organisational culture, and technical skills to raise the bar of public services delivery.
(b) Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should be used proactively to identify effective approaches and encourage continuous services improvement, avoiding overreliance on a narrow set of KPIs.
(c) Transparency through inter-agency information-sharing can drive positive change and improve the performance of public sector.
(d) User-friendly application of technology can enhance the quality of public services delivery, leveraging on IT tools like AI chatbots and social media for streamlining communication, data transparency and timeliness of information and data dissemination.

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