TWENTY years after the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Malaysia’s economy remains resilient to global challenges. There is much for us to reflect on those 20 years.
As we entered the new millennium in 2000, Malaysia embarked on vital development across the country.
New public transport systems such as the light rail transit and monorail were implemented to cater to the needs of the capital, Kuala Lumpur, in the late 1990s.
The new Mass Rapid Transit Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line, the proposed East Coast Rail Link and the High-Speed Rail (Singapore-KL), which is expected to be completed by 2022, will benefit the people, as well as foreigners, by reducing commuting time in the region.
For instance, the travel time between Singapore and KL will be shortened to just 90 minutes. Undoubtedly, this will boost bilateral trades and businesses, and strengthen our economy to be competitive more in the world arena.
According to the 2017 World Competitiveness Yearbook, Ma-laysia is ranked the 24th most competitive economy in the world. We are also rated as the sixth friendliest country in the world in ease of doing business by the World Bank.
Both rankings show that Ma-laysia has a good reputation for having a business-friendly environment and a tax-competitive system that attract foreign investors to invest and set up factories or regional offices. We also have a track record of being resilient to global financial crises and economic challenges. Historically, Malaysia has been dubbed one of the miracles that survived the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
Bank Negara Malaysia and the Finance Ministry responded prudently by introducing capital-controls and fixed the exchange rates to stabilise the economy.
Despite the impact of post-Brexit economic challenges and the depreciation of ringgit, we achieved a 4.2 per cent growth last year.
The economy is growing steadfastly with significant increases in real wages, economic development and productivity.
These accomplishments show that Malaysia has a strong and stable base that allows investors to do business here confidently and our strengths will remain for decades to come.
We are standing at a junction that may determine the next 60 years. Malaysia has showed itself capable of standing strong and resilient economically in the world since independence.
Are we able to move forward socially and politically in the future? The answer lies with the people and future generations. Multiculturalism, pluralism and equality should remain the fundamental principles that continue to push the nation and people forward.
We should embrace and celebrate our diversity and multiracial society because these are the unique strengths that show who we are.
Let’s be steadfast in putting all our strengths together and march forward. When we stand together, we can form an irresistible force that make our country strong and prosperous.
Tan Chee Yong, Kajang, Selangor