2-Day Conference on The Malaysian Economy Towards 2020: Issues and Challenges

This conference brought together prominent economists working on various aspects of the Malaysian economy with the goal of examining and assessing the extent to which the government’s current economic policies are able to address the challenges of achieving a developed country status by the year 2020.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016 – “The Malaysian Economy Towards 2020: Issues and Challenges” Conference, was held at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute today. As part of the Malaysia Studies Programme and Regional Economic Studies, this two-day conference was jointly organised by both ISEAS and the University of Nottingham Malaysia, as well as supported by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS).

Mr Tan Chin Tiong, Director of ISEAS, delivering the opening remarks. Seated next to him is Professor Lee Chew Ging, Dean, Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham, Malaysia (Source: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)

First Day of Conference

In his opening remarks, ISEAS Director, Mr Tan Chin Tiong, said that the conference would provide a venue for academia, government and international organisations for discussions, observations and exchange of ideas to take place.

He added Malaysia aspires to be a fully developed country by 2020 but there are internal and structural obstacles that may limit the growth and structural transformation in the coming years. What are some of the factors that may limit the potential growth of the economy in the medium to long term?

The opening remarks of Mr Tan can be downloaded here.

Professor Lee co-delivering the opening remarks (Source: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)

Professor Lee Chew Ging, Dean of the Nottingham University Business School in the University of Nottingham, Malaysia, co-opened the event by delivering his opening remarks next and added that while Malaysia’s economy has grown over the decades, it may also be important to look at the standard of living in the country.

He hoped that the conference would also enable participants to dwell on details and statistics on how the Malaysian economy can structurally transform over time.

Dr Tham Siew Yean, Senior Fellow, ISEAS, presenting her research on trade. Seated next to her is Dr Francis Hutchinson, Senior Fellow and Coordinator, Regional Economic Studies Programme, ISEAS (Source: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)

What would be some shocks that could disrupt Malaysia’s growth? Malaysia is expected to face tougher times in light of external challenges from the global economy. These are some of the fundamental questions that policymakers and academics have to examine in looking at the challenges and issues faced by Malaysia as it progressed towards becoming a developed economy by 2020.

From left to right: Professor Rokiah Alavi, Kulliyyah of Economics and Management Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia, Professor Lee and Ms Wan Khatina Wan Mohd Nawawi, Director of Research, Khazanah Research Institute make up the second panel (Source: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)

From left to right:  Dr Wan Chang Da, Senior Lecturer, National Higher Education Research Institute, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Dr Cassey Lee, Senior Fellow, ISEAS and Dr Lee Hwok-Aun, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya represent the third panel (Source: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)

Dr Muhammad Abdul Khalid, Director of Research, Khazanah Research Institute responding to questions from the participants during Session 4. From left to right: Seated next to him are Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Associate Professor, Taylor’s Business School, Taylor’s University, Malaysia as Moderator and Mr G Naidu, Consultant (Source: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)

Q&A session with the conference participants (Source: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)

Second Day of Conference

Dr Hutchinson providing insights on his research – Regional Development. Seated next to him from left to right: Dr Tham, Moderator of Session 5 and Dr Pillay (Source: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)

Dr Lim Ee Shiang, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, presenting her topic on SMEs at the start of Session 6 (Source: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)

Dr Cassey Lee, Senior Fellow, ISEAS, sharing his views on Development Planning. From left to right: Joining him for Session 6 are Dr Kwek Kian Teng, Deputy Dean, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, Ms Wan Khatina, Moderator and Ms Evelyn Ooi, Research Associate, ISEAS (Source: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute)

About 80 participants registered for the conference.

Topics that were actively discussed include Malaysia’s trade, manufacturing, services, GLCs and SOEs, education, labour market, poverty, inequality and well-being; infrastructure, regional development, agricultural and resource-based industries, SMEs, healthcare, development planning, banking and finance, and fiscal sustainability.