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TJ KB: MIER: Ekonomi Merosot, Suntikkan Takkan Membantu
By Tara Patel
18/4/2001 11:35 pm Wed
MIER: EKONOMI MEROSOT, SUNTIKAN TAKKAN MEMBANTU
Menurut MIER, ekonomi Malaysia akan terus merosot secara
dramatik pada suku pertama tahun ini. Pakej rangsangan dijangka
tidak mampu memberi kesan hinggalah ke tahun depan.
Pengguna juga tidak yaqin berbelanja walaupun kadar faedah adalah
terendah di rantau ini. Mengurangkannya lagi tidak akan memberi
kesan sangat untuk meningkatkan perbelanjaan.
Menurut Ariff, pengarah eksekutif MIER, kadar pertumbuhan pada
suku pertama tahun ini dijangka 'teramat-amat rendah' tetapi tidak
dapat dihebahkan angkanya. Hasil kajian MIER mendapati angka petunjuk
keyakinan bisnes dan pengguna telah merosot agak teruk.
"Memang nyata suasana perniagaan sudah buruk membusuk", kata Ariff.
Pesanan ekspot dan jualan ekspot amat lemah sekali dan pengeluaran
seta penjualan 'turut berprestasi pilu'. Inventori pula semakin
bertambah dan harga tidak berganjak kerana tiada sesiapa yang
sanggup menerlah risiko.
MIER memberi amaran sistem kawalan matawang kini telah menggugat
rezab antarabangsa Malaysia. Ia mencadangkan kerajaan mengawal
pelaburan ke luar negara oleh rakyat negara ini. (Kadar faedah
yang lebih tinggi menyebabkan orang kaya umno sendiri menyimpan
wang mereka di luar negara - Penterjemah)
Pengguna pula lebih berhati-hati mengetatkan poket masing-masing
dari berbelanja. Terdapat kebimbangan menghadapi masalah kewangan
di masa hadapan menyebabkan mereka tidak berbelanja.
Ariff menyokong ringgit dinilai semula tetapi keadaan masakini
agak berbahaya untuk kerajaan melaksanakannya kerana matawang
tidak stabil dan ekonomi yang melemah.
"Kita seharusnya keluar dari kemelut kawalan ini secepat mungkin
Adalah mudah untuk masuk ke dalam sistem kawalan ini tetapi
amat sukar untuk keluar. Sekarang masanya tidak sesuai untuk
cabut. Kita sepatutnya melakukannya lebih awal ketika keadaan
begitu stabil satu ketika dulu lagi.... sekarang kita sudahpun
ketinggalan perahu itu", kata Ariff.
Kita ketinggalan perahu itu kerana kroni perlu diselamatkan dulu
selepas pemilu. Banyak yang sudah ditolong tahun lalu seperti
Halim Saad (banyak sangat perlu ditolong dan belum cukup lagi),
Vincent Tan dan Tajuddin Ramli dll. Tetapi tahun ini saham time dotCom
tidak laku. Mulalah kroni tergaru-garu kerana menyangka mudah
menggunakan saham untuk melangsaikan hutang dan tidak ramai yang
akan menentang. Sekarang MTUC sudah memberi amaran untuk berpiket
besar-besaran di seluruh negara Mei nanti.
Tidak lama lagi kita menjangkakan mereka akan membikin 'bom jangka'
melalui bon pula. Jangan lupa hujung April ini ada satu pakej untuk
menyelamatkan LRT. Lagipun tambangnya sudah pun naik baru-baru ini.
Bom jangka akan meletup jika tiada wangnya. Yang akan menderita bukan
orang lain - tetapi kita rakyat Malaysia yang bertungkus lumus bekerja.
Para kroni apa perduli kerana mereka boleh lari meninggalkan negara
untuk bersuka-ria. Tinggallah kita menggigit jari dalam sengsara dengan
sejuta muram di air muka. Tapi itu sudahpun tidak berguna..... kerana
kita terlalu berdiam dan tidak muncul di perhimpunan menyelamatkan
negara di jalanraya dan di lebuhraya. Kita telah lali di saat negara
memerlukan kita padahal kita sendiri bakal menerima sendiri segala
buruk dan padahnya.
-TJr Kapal Berita-
Tuesday, April 17 5:52 PM SGT
WRAP: Malaysia Econ Slows, Pump-Prime Won't Help- MIER
By Tara Patel
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
KUALA LUMPUR (Dow Jones)--The Malaysian economy is expected to have
slowed dramatically in the first quarter of 2001, when business
confidence slumped to recession levels, the Malaysian Institute of
Economic Research said Tuesday.
Cutting its 2001 growth forecast to 4.0% from 5.0%, the think-tank
said a 3-billion-ringgit ($1=MYR3.80) spending package announced last
month by the government to pump prime the economy won't help.
"We do not believe the stimulus package will have an impact this year
but may be next year," Mohamed Ariff Abdul Kareem, executive director
of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, said at a news
In fact, he said, the government and central bank's policy options to
ward off a major slowdown are limited.
"The scope of monetary and fiscal policy is very limited. The
government has to sit back and accept slower growth," he said. "Four
percent growth is low. In fact, I would describe it as a mild
There is still room for the central bank to cut interest rates, he
added, but Malaysia's are already the lowest in the region and in
light of fragile consumer confidence, a further cut probably wouldn't
Bank Negara Malaysia forecast 2001 growth at between 5.0% and 6.0%,
which Mustapa Mohamed, advisor to the Malaysia's National Economic
Action Council, Tuesday called "achievable."
In contrast, Ariff said the estimate is definitely "off the mark" due
to a slower-than-anticipated U.S. economy and Malaysia's dependence
First half growth will likely be under 4.0%, with the brunt of the
slowdown being felt in the first quarter. First quarter growth will
likely be "very, very low," he said, but declined to give a precise
MIER's lower growth estimate reflects the findings of first quarter
business and consumer confidence surveys, which both dropped
The Business Conditions Index for the first quarter dropped to 46.3
points, down from 53.2 points in the October-to-December quarter and
60.7 points in the same quarter last year.
"Falling below the demarcation level of 50 points, the latest reading
portends a recessionary, albeit mild, economic situation," MIER said,
warning of a further slowdown in coming months further choking
"Clearly business conditions have deteriorated," Mohamed Ariff said.
The index was below 50 points in 1998 when Malaysia was hit by the
Asian financial crisis and growth contracted 7.4%.
Weakness is greatest for expected export orders and export sales, the
survey found, but sales, production and expected second quarter
production "also performed dismally."
Sectors surveyed reported expectations of lower capacity utilization,
higher inventory and stagnant prices in the first quarter, MIER said.
The findings of the think-tank's first quarter consumer sentiments
survey were equally gloomy as Malaysians began to worry about job
MIER's Consumer Sentiment Index was 105.7 points in the first
quarter, down substantially from 120.70 points in the same quarter
last year, and below the fourth quarter's 115.6 points.
The index is still above 100, however, the threshold below which it
fell in 1998.
The economic think-tank said weaker labor markets are beginning to
weigh on Malaysian consumers' minds, and they are increasingly
worried their finances will worsen in the short term. "At the moment
consumers are tightening their purse strings and this will provide an
additional squeeze on the economy," Mohamed Ariff said.
The think-tank sounded a note of caution on the country's currency
peg and level of foreign reserves, which have been steadily eroding.
Mohamed Ariff suggested the government limit and control the amounts
Malaysians are investing overseas to stem the decline in
The ringgit, fixed at 3.80 to the dollar, is "slightly overvalued",
MIER said, and may be hurting export competitiveness.
Mohamed Ariff Tuesday joined the ranks of some business leaders in
calling for the ringgit to be un-pegged in light of weaker currencies
of Malaysia's exporting neighbors.
Speculation was rife in the market earlier this month that Malaysia
would devalue its currency to improve export competitiveness, talk
the central bank and government have dismissed.
Ariff said the move shouldn't come now due to weak economic
conditions and instability on currency markets, but should be
"We should get out as quickly as we possibly can." Ariff said of the
fixed currency regime.
"It is easy to get into a pegged system but it is hard to get out,"
he added. "This is not the time to get out. We should have done it
earlier when the times were good...we missed the boat."
Mahathir fears violent uprising
By MARK BAKER
The Malaysian Government has stepped up its attack on the country's
democracy movement by accusing the opposition of receiving support
from Indonesia in preparation for a campaign of violent protests
aimed at toppling the government.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said police had evidence that some of
the seven opposition leaders arrested last week under the infamous
Internal Security Act had contacted radical activists in Jakarta.
"They (the police) know that these people had gone to another country
to seek help in organising a much more violent kind of demonstration,
but I think the police nipped them in the bud by taking the culprits
earlier," he said after a meeting of the supreme council of his
ruling United Malays National Organisation.
Other government leaders earlier claimed the opposition had sought
weapons and explosives for use during street protests and had made
plans to bring sympathisers from Indonesia to join their campaign.
About 5000 opposition supporters led by Wan Azizah, the wife of
jailed former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, rallied peacefully
in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday to protest at the crackdown on free
speech and assembly and tightening controls on the media.
Organisers of the protest believe the turnout was much lower than
expected due to the threats of further arrests and a show of force by
The comments by Dr Mahathir are his first public acknowledgement of
fears within the leadership that the wave of anti-government
sentiment triggered by the jailing of Mr Anwar could develop into the
kind of mass uprising that presaged the fall of the Suharto regime in
Despite police failure to produce any evidence of planned violence,
the opposition leaders are still being held and denied access to
The use of the Internal Security Act, which allows detention without
charge for a minimum of 60 days, has drawn international and domestic
criticism, including from Malaysia's government-appointed Human
But Dr Mahathir defended the use of the act and foreshadowed a
toughening of laws regulating the media. He said only a small
minority were opposed to the use of the act and it would only be
reviewed when Malaysians understood the "true meaning" of democracy.
"Once the people understand democracy, which means that violence is
not used to overthrow the government, we can think of revising the
law," he said.
In a move apparently targeted at foreign magazines and newspapers, Dr
Mahathir said the government would review the Printing Presses and
Publications Act, which prohibits the publication of "malicious news"
and allows authorities to ban the circulation of publications.
"The act may not be very effective. We'll find ways to restore its
relevancy," he said. "We don't want to be like the press in other
countries, the so-called liberal countries, who tell lies, fabricate
stories, provoke people and don't give a fair picture."
Authorities have recently held up distribution of foreign news magazines that have reported the country's political and economic problems.