President Annual Report 2020

An Overview of Activities for the year 2019

It is my pleasure to present to the Annual General Meeting, the Malaysian Economic Association’s (MEA) Annual Report for the year ended 31 December 2019.

The first activity for the year was the roundtable conference held on 28th January 2019 at Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. The conference was an AMRO-MEA event on the Malaysian Economy, with the theme “Malaysia: Building a Resilient Future.” This inaugural event brought together various experts to discuss pertinent issues confronting the Malaysian Economy.

This was followed by the BNM Governor’s Address on the Malaysian Economy & Panel Discussion on 28th March 2019 also at Sasana Kijang, BNM. As in the past, after the release of the 2018 BNM Annual Report and Financial Stability and Payment System Report, the keynote address was given by the Deputy Governor of BNM, who focused on the key economic developments of the Malaysian economy during the year in consideration. After that, a panel session comprising experts in their respective fields, namely Dato Dr. Nazir Khan, Mr. Manokaran Mottain, and Ms. Julia Goh, discussed the economic issues highlighted. The discussion was moderated by Datuk Khairil, a Vice President of MEA. The welcoming speech at the event was given by Prof. Dr. Yeah Kim Leng, the Deputy President of MEA. This event was well attended by bankers, corporate leaders, managers, analysts, academics and others.

On 29th March 2019, MEA held its 56th Annual General Meeting at Bilik Mesyuarat, Yayasan MEA, Faculty of Economics & Administration, University of Malaya.

The third event was the collaboration between MEA and BNM on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Global Financial Stability Report (GFSR). It was one of the BNM’s outreach programs, which was held on 29 April 2019 at Sasana Kijang. The IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook (WEO) was presented by Mr. Weicheng Lian, an Economist in the Economic Research Department of the IMF. This was followed by the IMF’s GFSR, presented by Mr. Jochen M. Schmittmann, the head of the IMF’s representative office in Singapore. The report covered Singapore, Malaysia, and financial market developments across Asia. The event was a success with a large number of participants from various commercial and industrial sectors.

The fourth event was the Malaysian Economic Convention (MEC 2019). It was held from 17th to 18th June 2019 at Eastin Hotel, Petaling Jaya. MEA was proud to host this convention which carried the main theme “Malaysia in Reform: Building Capacity, Digitalisation, and Governance.” This convention provided a platform for analysis of the PH government’s reform process that had taken place thus far and whether it was on the right track and whether the institutional governance processes were likely to face new challenges in the new IR4.0. The sub-theme of this convention was Governance and Reforms, and the New Business Environment. The response to the event was overwhelming, and it received positive feedback from the participants. During the conference dinner held that night, the dinner speech was by the Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, YB Dr Ong Kian Ming. Dr Ong also launched the Datuk Latifah Merican Cheong Memorial Award during the event. The family members of Datuk Latifah also witnessed the launch.

The fifth event on 24th June 2019 was the collaboration between the University of Malaya and Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad on a Special Engagement Session by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Managing Director, Ms. Christine Lagarde. This event had the theme “Ingredients for Good Governance and Economic Prosperity” and was held at the Auditorium, Research Management & Innovation Complex (RMIC), University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Ms. Christine Lagarde highlighted three key ingredients to boost productivity in Malaysia. The first being improvement of governance and tackling of corruption; the second being investing in high-quality education, and the third, boosting labour force participation of women. She used the Malaysian laksa as an example, where a variety of combinations will deliver economic success for Malaysia.

On 6th August 2019, MEA held a joint seminar with the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) on “ASEAN+3 Regional Economic Outlook 2019: Building Capacity and Connectivity for the New Economy.” The event was held at Sasana Kijang, BNM. During the event, Prof. Dr. Yeah Kim Leng, the Deputy President of MEA was the moderator, and other panellists were Dr. Hoe Ee Khor (Chief Economist, AMRO), Dr. Donald Hanna (Group Chief Economist, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd), Dr. Richard Record (Lead Economist, Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment Global Practice, World Bank), and Mr. Praveen Rajan (Chief Digital Officer Digi Telecommunication Sdn Bhd). The above presentation was insightful and useful and was attended by more than 100 participants from various sectors.

In conjunction with the World Statistics Congress (WSC) 2019, MEA had collaborated with International Society for Business and Industrial Statistics (ISBIS) to hold the ISBIS Satellite Conference. It was held from 15th - 16th August 2019 at Lanai Kijang, Kuala Lumpur. The event was hosted by Bank Negara and co-organized with the Department of Applied Statistics, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya. The conference started with the keynote presentation of Galit Shmueli, Distinguished Professor at the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. The conference had 78 participants from 20 different countries to discuss the issues on the latest developments in time series, financial statistics, statistical and machine learning, Bayesian methods, computer experiments, reliability and process modelling, and applied statistical methods in business and industry. A short course attended by 60 participants on Bayesian Analysis of Time Series Data using R was taught by trainer Dr. Balaji Raman (Cogitaas, India) and Dr. Nalini Ravishanker of the University of Connecticut, the President of ISBIS and Professor at the University of Connecticut in the USA.

MEA continued the tradition of organizing its flagship event- the 2020 Post-Budget Debate on 14th October 2019 at Sasana Kijang, BNM.

The session started with a keynote speech, followed by a panel discussion comprising of notable experts who gave their views. The debate was intended to provide further clarification on the measures announced in the budget. The event attracted large number of participants from various sectors. The debate carried the theme “Shared Prosperity: Sustainable and Inclusive Growth Towards a High Income Economy.” This budget coincided with the tail end of the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020). Trimming of public expenditure and raising government revenue were prime objectives of the budget. As in previous years, the post-budget panel picked up issues, strategy and approach tabled by the Minister of Finance (MOF). This year, the Keynote Address was delivered by En. Johan Mahmood Merican, Director of the National Budget Office, MOF. The dialogue session was moderated by the Vice President of MEA, Dr. Jorah Ramlan, while the five panellists were Dr. Veerinderjeet Singh (Non-Executive Chairman of Axcelasia Taxand Sdn Bhd), Ms. Shakira Teh Sharifuddin (Country Economist of World Bank Group), Prof. Dr. Edmund Terence Gomez (Dean of Faculty of Economics & Administration, University of Malaya), Prof. Dr. Mansor H. Ibrahim (Deputy President Academic & Dean of INCEIF), and Mr. Ravindran Navaratnam (Managing Director of Sage 3 Capital Sdn Bhd).

For your information, MEA also organized for the first time the Post-Budget Debate in Melaka. The session was held at Hotel Ramada Plaza, Melaka on 17th October 2019. The welcoming speech was delivered by Tan Sri Dato Seri Dr. Sulaiman Mahbob, Past-President of MEA, while the Keynote Address was by Mr, Mohamad Reezal Ahmad (Deputy Under Secretary-Statutory Body Strategy Management Division), while Prof. Dr. Yeah Kim Leng was the moderator. Our panellists were Mr. Imri Dolhadi Ab Wahab (Head of Section, Fiscal Policy of MOF), Mr. Benedict Francis (Tax Partner, Price Waterhouse Coopers), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Halimahton Borhan (Associate Professor in Economics of Faculty Business & Management, UITM, Melaka), Dr. Mohd Shahreen Madros (E.A.Technique Bhd), and En. Nor Zahidi Alias (Chief Economist of Malaysian Rating Corporation Bhd).

MEA also co-hosted an event with BNM—IMF Regional Economic Outlook - "Caught in Prolonged Uncertainty: Challenges and Opportunities for Asia" on 7 November 2019 at Sasana Kijang, BNM. It was a talk on the IMF’s Asia Outlook presentation by Mr Pragyan Deb and Madam Angana Banerji.

Lastly, Dr Jorah Ramlan represented MEA at the 44th Federation of ASEAN Economic Associations (FAEA) Conference, held at Singapore SGX from 29th -30th November 2019. Two EXCO members, Dr Thillaisundaram and Dr Lau, presented papers at the conference.

On behalf of the Exco, I wish to thank MEA members, business associates, and friends for their continuing support and assistance. Acknowledgements

The Association wishes to express its gratitude and appreciation to the following:

  • The Dean, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, for co-organizing the activities of the Association.
  • The staff of Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, for their cooperation and support.
  • All representatives of the press and media for providing publicity on the activities of the Association.
  • MJES Editorial Board and sub-committee members.
  • Bank Negara Malaysia.
  • Ministry of Finance.
  • World Bank Malaysia.
  • Centre for Poverty and Development Studies (CPDS)
  • ISBIS (International Society for Business and Industrial Statistics).
  • Panelists and Speakers who participated in MEA’s events.
  • Donors and Sponsors.
  • Organisations and Individuals supporting PEM’s events.

Emeritus Professor Datuk Norma Mansor

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