Averting a recession

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Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz is confident that Malaysia will have positive economic growth at least until the third quarter of this year and emphasised that the country must be prepared for a slowdown in the global economy. With the warning bells already ringing, can steps be taken now for Malaysia to avert a recession?

KUALA LUMPUR: Given the global economic backdrop, many are predicting that a potential worldwide recession may be likely, if not inevitable, in 2023.

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said that Malaysia will find it a challenge to avoid an economic recession next year.

Nevertheless, Tengku Zafrul is confident that Malaysia will have positive economic growth at least until the third quarter of this year and emphasised that the country must be prepared for a slowdown in the global economy.

With the warning bells already ringing, can steps be taken now for Malaysia to avert a recession?

Given the combination of worsening global economic conditions, greater geo-political risk affecting commodity and financial markets, as well as domestic issues, Malaysia University of Science and Technology professor Geoffrey Williams acknowledged that the risks of a recession are rising.

“We put it at 50:50 in our baseline scenario. The only measures that can be taken involve keeping the economy moving, promoting consumer spending, keeping interest rates low and improving the supply-side and competition in the marketplace,” he told StarBiz.

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Centre for Market Education (CME) chief executive Carmelo Ferlito, however, believes that efforts to avert a recession should have been initiated during the height of the pandemic.

Centre for Market Education (CME) chief executive Carmelo Ferlito, however, believes that efforts to avert a recession should have been initiated during the height of the pandemic.

“There is a certain rush today in blaming the international tensions for an economic downturn, which seems to be inevitable.

“However, the most recent facts such as the geopolitical conflicts, are only worsening something that had to happen as a consequence of the so-called anti-Covid policies.”

Ferlito emphasised that such policies did not quite improve conditions.

“They were instead the seed for an inflation-led economic crisis, as CME had predicted 1½ years earlier.

“So let’s be clear – there will be an economic crisis not because of the geopolitical conflicts, but because irrational and unscientific lockdown policies forced the government to implement enormously expansive fiscal and monetary policies.”

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