Malaysia needs extraordinary strategies to navigate out of Covid crisis

The pandemic has caused millions to be unemployed while others having difficulties to put food on the table

by LYDIA NATHAN / pic credit: sunway.com.my

MALAYSIA needs extraordinary policies and strategies to revive and recover the nation from the Covid-19 pandemic, Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah (picture) said.

“There are things that we can put out especially to business people to encourage them to invest or start re-investing again to revive the economy.

“Good governance is vital at this point, because new initiatives and policies are needed to support the old ones,” he said during the virtual MIDF Conversations forum yesterday.

He noted that the pandemic has caused millions of jobs to be lost with some even finding it hard to put food on the table every day.

He underscored that the government needs to consider how the ordinary public are being affected by the policies and the root of the problem must be considered.

“One good aspect has been is the push for digitalisation, because we know we cannot solve any problem today with the analogue mindset as this is a digital age we are living in.

“Technology will continuously improve people’s lives and we must take advantage of the tools and resources we have in order not to be left behind,” he said.

In the forum with MIDF group MD Datuk Charon Wardini Mokhzani, Cheah said there is a need to rebuild the people’s confidence and trust in the government and institutions, on top of wooing businesses back to the country.

He also called for the stringent new rules under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme to be looked into.

MM2H has generated RM40.6 billion from 21,841 approved applications from 2002 to 2018. The government recently announced stricter guidelines, which critics said would risk the capital outflow while putting potential investors and foreigners off.

“We invited people to invest in a home here and we cannot suddenly kick them out when they had brought in billions to live here and brought in tourists as low hanging fruits that generated a lot of cash in the tourism industry.

“Why suddenly change the goal post?” he asked.

Additionally, Cheah said education has played and will continue playing a huge role in shaping the future generations.

“I have always been very passionate about education. Malaysia has so much talent and potential that can be harnessed within the country provided the younger generation have access to good education,” he said.

That, he said, is the reason why Sunway Innovation labs was launched in 2021, with the belief that working with the best and learning from the best will generate even more talent within the country.

“I want young people to have that opportunity because I believe the right-thinking people will continue to excel while moving in the right direction.

“Another important aspect we have looked at is reducing the number of imports into Malaysia. The land here is so fertile and we can plant or grow anything we can.

“It just takes the private sector to work together with the public sector to get organised and collaborate to make this a reality. We have the raw materials right now but we don’t know how to convert this in the marketplace and sell for high prices,” he noted.

Cheah said Malaysia has always remained an important part of his life and he wished to see good governance and good institutions that can help build the future generations.