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Use emergency period for social reforms, economists say

They say it is time for 'comprehensive and brutal reforms'.

Farhira Farudin
1 minute read
The state of emergency, declared in January, is expected to continue until August.
The state of emergency, declared in January, is expected to continue until August.

Economists today urged the government to use the emergency period to conduct radical reforms on the social system.

Muhammed Abdul Khalid of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said the state of emergency, declared in January, would not necessarily cause harm to the country’s economic performance if the government has the expertise needed to better govern.

He also said the emergency proclamation would be a wasted opportunity if it is not used to implement reforms to areas under the social system such as education.

“We are experiencing bad times (so) it’s time for comprehensive and brutal reforms,” he said at a press conference organised by the committee of Tamat Darurat, a movement led by Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad calling for an end to the emergency period.

“This is an opportunity to improve the social system.”

The press conference was organised for input on how the state of emergency is affecting the country’s economic performance.

Economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram said it is possible for the economy to recover this year if the pandemic is not manipulated by the government for political gain.

He added that the previous GDP growth forecast by Bank Negara Malaysia is no longer reasonable given the current economic condition.

The central bank had predicted that the country’s economy was on track for recovery with a growth in GDP of between 6% and 7.5%.

This is in spite of the GDP shrinking by 5.6% in 2020.

“It is clear that November’s forecast for the budget is no longer valid,” Sundaram said.

“That’s not the minister of finance’s fault, that’s because the situation is politically manipulated.”