Govt upbeat on 2022 prospects

by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government is bullish on 2022 following healthy rebounds in key sectors of the economy.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (picture) said the government expects the economy to grow between 5.5% and 6.5% next year with recoveries in manufacturing, services, agriculture, and the oil and gas sectors.

Mustapa said there is strong evidence of pick-up in manufacturing, agriculture and mining, which is an indicator for good recovery in 2022. He said domestic tourism and trade are also picking up to support continued growth.

“We hope the gradual opening with Singapore will progress well. We are in talks with Indonesia and Thailand as well,” he said after a meeting with the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (Eurocham Malaysia) on the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) yesterday.

Mustapa said full recovery will still be affected by the almost complete closure of international borders, but that continued local consumption and investment will continue to create growth.

Economic Planning Unit director Datuk Valluvan Veloo said the government is committed to restoring foreign investor confidence and improving the ease of doing business.

“Give us a chance to do better with 12MP, we have identified various issues including talent, expat that coming in or out to Malaysia with a strategy to improve.

“We really want Malaysia to be the hub and we want quality investment to come to Malaysia and this is done through the National Investment Aspirations framework which the Ministry of International Trade and Industry is currently working on,” he said.

Among the key policies and strategies of the 12MP is making structural reforms to set up economic growth post Covid-19 and roping in the private sector to accelerate growth. The 12MP also focuses on poverty with additional funding from specific taxes to fund poverty eradication.

Eurocham Malaysia chairman Oliver Roche said he is also optimistic for 2022 with interest in seeing how the chamber could collaborate with the government.

“Generally, Eurocham Malaysia’s members have a diverse and wide business including consulting, construction and information technology. One common thing for us in 2021 is tight (conditions) for everybody. Once the restriction was lifted in the third quarter onwards, we saw a significant rebound.

“With Singapore- and Vietnam-European Union (EU) free trade agreements completed and Indonesia and Thailand in advanced discussions or negotiations stage, we are concerned Malaysia may lose out if EU-Asean doesn’t mature. Hence, we are looking to restart these negotiations,” Roche said.