APR 04, 2020

Economic Turbulence in Covid-19 – A webinar organised by HEYA (High Education Malaysia Association)


REFSA Research Director Ivy Kwek spoke in a recent HEYA webinar about the future economic outlook, the immediate and long term measures to flatten the recession curve, and how we should seek to reshape our world for post-COVID19 on HEYA’s webinar.

She stressed that we are facing a DUAL crisis – pandemic and recession. Although containment policies are necessary to flatten the pandemic curve, it concurrently steepens the recession curve. 

The Prihatin stimulus package is a welcome step but concerns arise on its sufficiency to aid SMEs’ cashflow, the self-employed and gig workers. In comparison, the economic stimulus packages of Singapore and the UK have been more generous.

You can read REFSA’s study here.

Studies have also shown that youth are particularly impacted by economic turbulence. Malaysian youths pre-COVID19 faced limited employment, lack of high-skilled jobs and low wages. “Crisis cohorts” often set-back with a late career start. 

She thinks it is therefore imperative that the government considers the needs of this group too, create entry-level jobs in sectors with growth potentials for fresh graduates, and help them to upskill, reskill and be ready when economy picks up again. 

She proposed some long term reforms such as 1) making a more diverse, knowledge-based economy that propels us into high-income status, 2) speed up the uptake of digitalization, automation, and tech solutions, 3) a more robust social safety net, 4) investment into public goods, particularly our healthcare system, 5) instilling the notion of security in economic planning such as food security, 6) future-proofing our cities in the face of climate change. 

She concluded that a crisis is also an opportunity, and it gives us a chance to reshape our world, as well as rethink the role of government. 

Watch her full presentation on the YouTube.

The presentation slides are downloadable here.

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