The Malaysian Outlook for 2019

Published on 29 Jan 2019

Kingsley Strategic Institute (KSI) organised the Malaysia Economic and Strategic Outlook Forum which featured a line-up of speakers covering a range of topics to gauge the outlook of the Malaysian economical and political climate. Arising from the various discussions during the Forum, the following key points were captured:

  • Sustainable methods will become commonplace in all forms of organisations with effects on daily operations, but are worthwhile investments for the future.
  • The global economic outlook for 2019 is uncertain due to external factors such as Brexit, movement of oil price, and geopolitical risks. The government must instill financial confidence by providing clear and firm economic policies.
  • Malaysia’s GDP growth is expected to slow to 4.6 percent in 2019, and 4.5 percent in 2020.
  • More initiatives and incentives are needed to transform Malaysian job structure from low-skilled jobs to high-skilled or technology-oriented jobs while reducing dependency on foreign labour.
  • The Pakatan Harapan government must manage the people’s expectations and address factors causing discontent that are causing racial and regional tensions. An equitable, needs-based economic development policy needs to be implemented while convincing the Malay majority that such a policy will not cause them to be marginalised.
  • Organsations need prepare for digital disruptions and a changing work culture, such as the gig economy/contingent workforce and increased use of AI. These changes will lead to the introduction of new jobs, but also cause job losses due to changes in future labour requirements.
  • The Malaysian government is still negotiating the RCEP and CTPPP, and is also looking into the possibility of other possible FTAs. However, the government must take heed of the needs of the business community when it negotiates for FTAs.

Forward looking policies and initiatives are needed to revive and strengthen various sectors, including tourism, SMEs, e-commerce, retail, and ICT by creating more opportunities and to overcome obstacles, especially with the coming Industry 4.0. The government has very outdated legislations which needs to be amended and modernised to prevent these sectors losing out competitively to other countries. The property market is on the downward cycle, but this may flatten out in 2019 and the situation may be positive by 2020 and 2021.

Keynote Speakers included:

  • YB Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis, Deputy Minister of Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change & Environment (Representing YB Yeo Bee Yin, Minister of Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment)
  • YB Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking, Minister of International Trade and Industry
  • YB Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, President, Parti Keadilan Rakyat & Chairman, Parliamentary Caucus on Governance & Reforms

The sessions speakers included:

  • Mr Shan Saeed, Chief Economist, IQI Global, Malaysia
  • Mr Manokaran Mottain, Chief Economist, Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd
  • Mr Nor Zahidi Alias, Chief Economist, Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad (MARC)
  • Mr Tian Chua, Vice President, Parti Keadilan Rakyat
  • Prof. Dr. James Chin, Director, Asia Institute, University of Tasmania
  • YB Arthur Joseph Kurup, Deputy President, United Sabah People’s Party / Member of Parliament for Pensiangan, Sabah
  • YB Dr. Kelvin Yii, Secretary, DAPSY Sarawak / Member of Parliament for Bandar Kuching
  • YB Puan Maria Chin Abdullah, Former Chairman BERSIH / Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya
  • YB Senator Dato’ Sri Ti Lian Ker, Vice President, Malaysian Chinese Association
  • Prof. Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria, Principal Research Fellow, KITA, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • Dato’ Ir. (Dr.) Lee Yee Cheong, Commissioner, UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development
  • Dr. Tan Juan Jim, Executive Director and Head of HR Advisory Business, Willis Towers Watson Malaysia
  • Ms Shareen Shariza Dato’ Abdul Ghani, Co-Founder & Director, Sorga Ventures Sdn Bhd
  • Ms Chong Chye Neo, Board Member, Technology Advisor / Former Managing Director, IBM Malaysia
  • Dato’ Dr. Ir. Hj. Mohd. Abdul Karim Abdullah, Group Managing Director / Group Chief Executive Officer, Serba Dinamik Holdings Berhad
  • Dato’ Henry Goh, Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Macro Kiosk Berhad
  • Datuk Michael Kang, National President, SME Association of Malaysia
  • Datuk Seri Garry Chua, President, Malaysia Retail Chain Association
  • Mr Siva Shanker, Head of Investments, Axis Reit & Past President, Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents
  • Mr Ganesh Kumar Bangah, Chairman, PIKOM, The National ICT Association of Malaysia
  • Mr Nigel Wong, Honorary Secretary General, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents,
  • Prof. Dato’ Dr. Jayles Yeoh, President, ASEAN Retail-Chains & Franchise Federation

The conference was made possible with the support of Strategic Partner, Konrad Adenuer Siftung; Corporate Partners – Macro Kiosk Berhad, Press Metal Bintulu Sdn Bhd, Serba Dinamik Holdings Berhad, Tenaga Nasional Berhad and The Top Penang as well as Associate Partner, Green Partner.



29 Jan 2019