According to the World Bank, prices of food in Malaysia rose by 4.2 per cent for the 12-month period ending July 2017. FILE PIC

THE World Bank in its “East Asia and Pacific Economic Update of Oct 3, 2017” presented a summary entitled “Balancing Act” on Malaysia.

So, what are the main messages of the bank to Malaysia?

The Malaysian economy has done well, with a growth of 5.7 per cent in the first half of this year.

The bank notes that private consumption is large, estimated at 6.6 per cent this year and 6.5 per cent next year.

However, total investment is expected to increase at a slower pace of 6.1 per cent this year and only 3.2 per cent next year.

Inflation rose to 4.1 per cent in the first half of this year.

This is high and is likely to rise further with the relatively weak ringgit.

The prices of food rose by a high of 4.2 per cent for the 12-month period ending July this year.

This poses challenges, especially to those in the low-income group.

House prices have risen faster than our income growth, according to the bank.

This makes the basic need for housing to become more unaffordable to the low-income group.

It is time the government implemented the Industrial Building System.

I hope that the coming 2018 Budget on Oct 27 will address the concerns expressed by the World Bank.

TAN SRI RAMON NAVARATNAM

Chairman Asli Centre of Public Policy Studies

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