President Annual Report 2022

An Overview of Activities for the year 2021

It is with great honour and a pleasure for me to present the Annual Report for the year ending 31st December 2021 in conjunction with the Annual General Meeting of the Malaysian Economic Association (MEA).

After the onslaught of Covid-19 in 2020 that almost crippled the country, many of us were optimistic that the year 2021 would bring us better hope and prospect. As the movement control orders (MCO) were eased, our initial thoughts in 2020 were that the economy would gradually pick up and life would return to normalcy. However, it seems that Covid-19 is here to stay as the virus progresses from pandemic to endemic.

For the first time, MEA organised its flagship complimentary Webinar-BNM Governor's Address. The panel discussion on the Malaysian economy was held on April 1st, 2021 via the Zoom platform. A keynote address was delivered by YBhg Datuk Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour, Deputy Governor BNM after the 2020 BNM Annual Report and Financial Stability and Payment System Report were presented. The keynote address focused on Malaysia’s key economic developments. It was followed by a discussion on various economic issues facing the country by a panel of experts in their respective fields, namely Mr. Imran Md Yusof, Head of MIDF Research, Ms. Eridani Tutiana Jusat, Chief Investment Officer of AMUNDI Asset Management and Dato' Dr. R. Thillainathan, MEA Past President and Trustee. The session was moderated by Prof. Dr. Evelyn Shyamala Devadason, the Vice-President of MEA. The event attracted more than 120 participants from various sectors: commercial, industrial and governmental.

The MEA Economic Webinar themed "Navigating Malaysia's Policy Challenges of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the High-Income Hurdle Optimising Trade-offs and Harnessing Complementarities” was held on 14th June 2021. The event was a collaboration between JCI (Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia) and MEA. I was the moderator for the webinar session. The panelists included Prof. Woo Wing Thye, the President of JCI as well as Vice-President for Asia, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Prof. Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr. Noor Azlan Ghazali, Head of Economists and Management Cluster, National Council of Professors, and MEA Deputy President Prof. Yeah Kim Leng, who is also the Director of Economic Studies at the Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia. The webinar event was a success.

MEA successfully held its 58th Annual General Meeting on 30th June 2021 at the Econo-Cube, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, when some movement restrictions connected with the pandemic were lifted.

In addition, MEA was selected to conduct the Capacity Building and Market Analysis Project, consisting of three (3) workshops, modules and articles from September to November 2021. The objective of the project was to build up the capacity and strengthen the capability of the Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) in producing quality market analysis and outlook reports on the timber industry for publication purposes. We would like to thank MTC for the opportunity given to MEA in this regard.

A fruitful bilateral meeting was held between PIDM and MEA at the MEA office, University of Malaya on 23rd September 2021. The opening remarks by Tan Sri Dr. Rahamat Bivi Yusoff, Chairman of PIDM and myself, President of MEA, were to share key developments and exchange views on potential areas for future collaboration. The meeting was followed by subsequent discussions between our Hon Secretary of MEA Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lau Wee Yeap and Mr. Mark Lee of PIDM. The MOU between PIDM and MEA was concluded on 30th November 2021. This event marks a new milestone for MEA to work with others who are keen to promote public interest in economics and discuss the challenges faced by the nation during the post-pandemic recovery period.

As in previous years, MEA continued to organise its flagship event, that is, the 2022 Post-Budget Debate Webinar. It was held via the Zoom Platform on 1st November 2021. The event attracted more than 500 participants. The Post-Budget Debate is an annual forum held regularly since 1989. As in the past, this event provided an effective platform for the Ministry of Finance to provide the rationale underlying the Budget strategies and explain how the Budget measures are expected to aid in economic recovery.

The 2022 Post-Budget Debate was of great significance given the major vulnerabilities in the Malaysian economy caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Turning the economy around and getting it on a positive trajectory is challenging. In this event, Mr. Johan Mahmood Merican delivered the keynote address as the Director of the National Budget Office, Ministry of Finance. The debate session was moderated by Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr. Sulaiman Mahbob, a Trustee of Yayasan MEA and Past President of MEA. The three panellists were Puan Intan Nadia Jalil, Regional Head, Group Economic and Market Analysis, Group Finance Division of CIMB, Mr. Manu Bhaskaran, CEO Centennial Asia Advisors Pte. Ltd., Singapore and Dr. Veerinderjeet Singh, Chairman of Tricor.

Finally, on behalf of the Exco members, I wish to thank MEA members, business associates and friends for their continuing support and assistance to MEA activities. 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.
  • Panelists and Speakers who participated in MEA’s events.
  • Donors and Sponsors.
  • Organisations and Individuals supporting PEM’s events.

Professor Emeritus Datuk Norma Mansor

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