Less concern given to real economic indicators, says Jomo
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is showing less concern over the country’s real economic indicators, but rather focusing on the financial indicators, said former senior United Nations official and economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram ( pix).
“We are not very interested in the future (of) agriculture, we do not seem to be very concerned about the fact that the country is deindustrialising, in terms of the share of the economy, which is contributed by manufacturing; or the fact that fewer workers are working in manufacturing (industry),” he told reporters on the sidelines of “Malaysian Capitalism, in Comparative Perspective” conference yesterday.
“We are all very happy with everybody (being) in services. We can have redistribution through services, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are actually adding to the economy,” he added.
Jomo is Visiting Senior Fellow, Khazanah Research Institute, and Tun Hussein Onn Chair in International Studies, Institute of Strategic and International Studies of Malaysia.
The two-day conference is jointly organised by KRI, the Embassy of France and the Malaysia-France University Centre, with the support of Institut Francais.
Currently, Malaysia is ranked fourth in the world as a manufacturing base but in terms of the adoption of software, technology and integration, Malaysia still lags behind.
During a press conference in conjunction with the World Economic Forum on Asean last June, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said manufacturing constitutes 24% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and is an important component in terms of contribution to growth.
“Almost 80% of exports come from this sector... employment as well. Manufacturing is central to our economy,” Mustapa said.
On the deterioration of manufacturing conditions in Malaysia, shown by the headline Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index that came in at 47.2 in May, Mustapa said the government has factored in such a slowdown in its GDP projection of 4-4.5% this year.