STAKE­HOLD­ERS EX­PECT GROWTH THIS YEAR

Chi­nese cham­ber sur­vey in­di­cates op­ti­mism among its mem­bers till 2019

New Straits Times - - News -

VEENA BAB­U­LAL

AND SERI NOR NADIAH KORIS KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

BUSI­NESS stake­hold­ers na­tion­wide are up­beat about the coun­try’s eco­nomic out­look for this year and the next. As­so­ci­ated Chi­nese Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try of Malaysia (ACCCIM) pres­i­dent Datuk Ter Leong Yap told Ber­nama that he was op­ti­mistic about the out­look for the year de­spite cau­tious sen­ti­ments.

He said 35.3 per cent of re­spon­dents in an ACCCIM sur­vey felt op­ti­mistic in see­ing im­prove­ments in their busi­nesses.

ACCCIM eco­nomic sur­vey unit of com­merce com­mit­tee mem­ber Peck Boon Soon said ex­ports had picked up since last year, and mem­bers be­lieved that there would be more investments com­ing in for the first half of the year.

Peck said 72 per cent of re­spon­dents said their busi­nesses were ei­ther “good” or “sat­is­fac­tory”.

In the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, 75 per cent said their per­for­mance had some­what “im­proved” or “sus­tained”, he said, adding that seven per cent of re­spon­dents in the whole­sale and retail sec­tor also no­ticed “im­prove­ments”.

“The mar­ginal im­prove­ment in sales may be at­trib­uted to the slight ex­pan­sion of the econ­omy, which had grown from last year.

“Malaysia’s eco­nomic per­for­mance con­tin­ues to be largely sup­ported by pri­vate sec­tor de­mand, which too, has shown pos­i­tive growth to record 6.2 per cent in the fourth quar­ter of 2016.”

The sur­vey also showed the Chi­nese busi­ness com­mu­nity hav­ing great con­fi­dence in the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth up to 2019.

Re­spon­dents who ex­pected a re­duced pro­duc­tion rate for the next six months had fallen to 33 per cent, from 40 per cent in the pre­vi­ous year.

Kuala Lumpur Malay Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Don Nazwim Don Na­jib said the or­gan­i­sa­tion was en­cour­aged by the eco­nomic out­look de­spite un­cer­tain­ties in ma­jor markets, such as the United States, East Asia and Europe.

“Pro­duc­tion, for­eign di­rect investments and ex­port data tra­jec­to­ries sug­gest a pick-up in sen­ti­ment. We are now cau­tiously op­ti­mistic on the clar­ity and con­ti­nu­ity of eco­nomic poli­cies as well as the sus­tain­abil­ity of the ring­git,” he said.

“Ex­pan­sion to new markets, adap­ta­tion of tech­nol­ogy and best prac­tices among Malaysia’s busi­ness com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially the Bu­mi­put­era busi­ness com­mu­nity, are im­per­a­tive to­wards cap­i­tal­is­ing on these op­por­tu­ni­ties and en­hanc­ing com­pet­i­tive­ness in this in­creas­ingly glob­alised mar­ket,” said Don Nazwim.

Malaysia Ex­ter­nal Trade De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (Ma­trade) chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Dr Mohd Shahreen Zain­oreen Madros said the weak­ened ring­git had given Malaysia a com­pet­i­tive edge.

He said the rise of sen­ti­ment was largely in the ex­port sec­tor due to gov­ern­ment poli­cies and a slew of bi­lat­eral agree­ments with eco­nomic pow­er­houses, such as China, Saudi Ara­bia and Asean.

“We are very ac­tive and dy­namic. There are a lot of po­ten­tial markets that will help boost our eco­nomic land­scape in the fu­ture,” said Shahreen.

The ACCCIM’s sur­vey, en­ti­tled “Sur­vey on Eco­nomic Sit­u­a­tion of Malaysia for the 2nd Half of 2016”, had col­lected feed­back from 359 re­spon­dents.

The re­spon­dents iden­ti­fied gov­ern­ment poli­cies, in­crease in op­er­at­ing costs and prices of raw ma­te­ri­als, in­crease in do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tion and man­power short­age as the rea­sons for poor busi­ness per­for­mance in the first half of last year.

Forty per cent of re­spon­dents said they had passed on the cost in­crease of the new min­i­mum wage law to con­sumers, while 27 per cent adopted other cost-cut­ting mea­sures.

De­spite the sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in costs, 60 per cent of the busi­ness­men said their op­er­a­tions could still be main­tained, while 38 per cent said their sales were badly af­fected.

FILE PIC

The weak ring­git and a slew of bi­lat­eral agree­ments have given Malaysia a com­pet­i­tive edge in the ex­port busi­ness.

Datuk Ter Leong Yap

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