KUALA LUMPUR, 22 Jan 2009: The Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) is projecting a 4% gross domestic product (GDP) growth for Malaysia this year.
Asli’s senior research fellow in economics, Datuk Gan Khuan Poh, said the domestic economy would accelerate if there were proper policy responses, more lending from banks and a quicker roll-out of projects, especially under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
“With the global economic slowdown, Malaysian economic growth will slow down in 2009 but not into recession in the light of strong economic resilience and policy measures,” Gan today told a media conference on this year’s outlook for Malaysia’s economy.
On another note, Asli’s chief executive officer and director, Datuk Dr Michael Yeoh, welcomed Bank Negara’s decision to slash the overnight policy rate by 75 basis points.
He said the reduction was very critical as it would translate into reduction in the cost of finance for the private sector to stimulate business and investor confidence.
“I think it is very important for the banks to continue to provide loans and facilities to the private sector,” he said.
Yeoh also urged the government to speed up the implementation of its various measures to stimulate the economy.
A delay in implementation may make them ineffective and might impact growth, he said.
He said the government should also consider reducing corporate and personal income tax.
“We are suggesting that both corporate and personal income tax be reduced to 20% progressively over a two-year period,” he said.
He added that the country should also focus on enhancing its national competitiveness level.
“We have put forward many other proposals and suggestions for the government to consider liberalisation of the economy.”
Further liberalisation would ensure renewed private sector confidence to invest in the country, he added. — Bernama