Produced by REFSA
In this episode, YB Dr. Ong Kian Ming , Iskandar Fareez and Frederik Paulus go into more depth on the “10 Questions for Bank Negara” note released last week. They discuss why the downside risks to economic growth in 2021 appear to be too high to substantiate BNM’s estimates. As of late April 2021, recovery remains elusive, particularly given the low vaccination rates and rising case numbers suggestive of a fourth wave. In the continuing absence of targeted mitigation measures, such as a Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support system (FTTIS), Malaysia will only be able to weather subsequent waves of infection by making difficult trade-offs between public health and the economy, which have both been under tremendous pressure in the last few months.
They also highlight the worry that optimistic forecasts in what is still an uncertain and volatile climate could lead to complacency. Overconfidence in the strong recovery forecast by BNM may be used to justify the premature withdrawal of support. Instead, what the country needs in the coming months is the expansion of fiscal and monetary stimulus measures to protect workers, promote consumption and empower SMEs as part of a broad strategy to rebuild the economy.
With this in mind, over the coming weeks REFSA will be introducing 10 strategies to build Malaysia back better. This will serve as a guide on how a responsible and responsive government should respond to the ongoing pandemic, and we will go deeper into each of them over the next few episodes of the show.
Catch this episode (36 minutes) on the following platforms:
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About REFSA Reflections
The Director’s Commentary for REFSA’s research, a podcast series on the economy, delving deeper and going behind the scenes into our ideas, publications, and positions.