BNM: Economic Action Council should identify ways to reinvigorate public investment

The headquarters of Bank Negara Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, March 30, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
The headquarters of Bank Negara Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, March 30, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — The Economic Action Council (EAC) should look at ways to reinvigorate public investment to spur the country’s economy, said Bank Negara Malaysia governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus.

She said the council could look into current incentives to see if they were attracting the right kind of foreign direct investments and if the incentives were given to the right companies.

“We have been sharing with the government on what could be looked at to preserve the economy and improve economic growth,” she told reporters after announcing Malaysia’s 2018 gross domestic product (GDP) and fourth quarter (4Q18) growth here today.

Nor Shamsiah also recommended that the EAC address issues pertaining to the high cost of living by looking at the cost itself, and how the government can improve income by generating more high-income jobs, move up the industries’ value chain and improve labour mobility.

“The EAC should also work on ensuring that our education system is producing the right type of graduates to serve the needs of industries. These are some of the long-term structural reforms we need to undertake.

“We can also look at supporting tourism, the money spent on tourism and how can we maximise the current economy to improve incomes,” she said.

On Monday, the government announced the setting-up of the 16-member EAC, chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Council members include Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking, Works Minister Baru Bian, Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid, former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and Permodalan Nasional Bhd chairman Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

Meanwhile, on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) loans growth, Nor Shamsiah said the reclassification of SMEs last year had not affected the financial assistance given by the government to the companies.

Loans disbursed to SMEs increased to RM80.8 billion in 4Q18 from RM77.2 billion in 3Q18. 

Last year, BNM’s internal circular announced that listed entities and government-linked companies (GLCs) and their subsidiaries were no longer deemed as SMEs and does not qualify for government assistance. — Bernama