Date: 16 May 2012
Venue: Kapur Room, Eastin Hotel
Speaker: Dato Dr Mahani Zainal Abidin (Chief Executive, ISIS Malaysia)
The global financial crisis in 2008 had produced two definitive outcomes. First, the world’s future growth prospects are uncertain with two of its main hubs undergoing massive restructuring. The fledging US recovery is working through its high unemployment rate, over-supplied real estate and huge financial sector indebtedness. The EU is likely to ahead into more turmoil with the Greece debt problems remain unresolved. Second, the global economic gravity has shifted to Asia, in particular East Asia as the region recovered quickly from the crisis and is now the most vibrant growth centre. As an economy that is very connected to the global system, Malaysia needs to maintain its high growth path amidst an uncertain external environment. Since exports are crucial for driving growth, Malaysia has to accelerate exports and search for new markets and products. This task is more urgent in view of the progress being made by other countries in the East Asia region. Besides China, which is both a key source of growth as well as a competitor for many East Asian countries, other regional countries have improved their competitiveness to pose a serious challenge to Malaysia and its industries’ position in the regional production network. Similarly, competition for investment inflow has also increased. To overcome these challenges and to achieve its goal to be a developed country, Malaysia has little choice but to sharpen its competitiveness to attract investment and to maintain a robust export growth rate. This calls for both improvement in Malaysia’s external positioning and domestic efficiency, innovativeness and competitiveness.