KUALA LUMPUR (June 26): The time is ripe for Malaysia to realign its focus towards stimulating domestic investments by encouraging local businesses to invest in high potential industries such as healthcare, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, as well as the information and communications technology-related industry, according to the Statistics Department.
Chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin said additionally, emphasis should be given to restore tourism-related industries — encompassing accommodation and food and beverages — by boosting investments in these areas.
“Tourism is an important sector that accounts for 23.5% of the national workforce, contributing 15.2% to the economy.
“Thus, a helping hand should be provided to ease the predicaments faced by the sector during these trying times to help them flourish again,” he said in a virtual press conference on the Malaysian Economic Statistics Review Volume 2/2020 today.
While international tourism activities might not resume anytime soon, a lot of innovative measures can be undertaken to revive the domestic tourism sector and restore it to its former glory, he said.
Mohd Uzir added that overall, all efforts should be geared towards restoring the confidence of doing business in Malaysia to enable a swift economic recovery.
Meanwhile, he said that looking at the current global economic climate, it would take some time for the manufacturing sector to recover from the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the sector is strongly dependent on the demand from the rest of the world, as almost 69% of the nation’s manufacturing output is for the export market.
“Therefore, the government has to consider mobilising other economic sectors to compensate for the sector’s short-term losses, such as agriculture, household-related services as well as small-scale construction activities.
“The current global supply and demand disruptions is an opportunity for us to give more focus on food-based agriculture products such as rice, fruits, vegetables, poultry and dairy which are largely imported at this juncture,” Mohd Uzir said.
According to the report, the manufacturing sector’s output in April 2020 contracted by 37.2% year-on-year (y-o-y).
Sales value of wholesale and retail trade experienced the largest decline, falling by 36.6%.
Overall, Malaysia's trade fell by 16.4% y-o-y to RM133.3 billion.
Exports declined 23.8% y-o-y to RM64.9 billion — the highest decline since September 2009 amidst the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
Imports dropped 8.0% y-o-y to RM68.4 billion, resulting in a trade deficit for the first time since October 1997.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s unemployment rate went up to 5.0% as the number of unemployed persons rose 48.8% y-o-y.