LETTERS: The government is right in wanting to introduce an economic stimulus package to cope with the anticipated slowdown of the economy due to external factors.
Here are some ideas that the government may want to consider.
To offset fewer tourist arrivals from China, provide more visa on-arrival incentives to more countries in South Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and South America. This can be done as it is only for one year.
Send more trade delegations to promote Malaysian exports to more countries. Malaysia must also go for a win-win trade situation in that it must export and import more.
Do not go for mega construction projects to increase public spending as only about 20 per cent of benefits (multiplier and spillover effects) accrue to Malaysia. The rest goes to foreign workers who remit more money to their home countries.
The slowdown is going to affect small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), resulting in high unemployment.
Have an amnesty programme to repatriate foreign workers. This will increase opportunities for Malaysian workers.
Stop the large-scale recruitment of foreign workers. Set up an SME fund to help these industries. Promote joint venture projects, especially between Chinese entrepreneurs and Malaysians.
With the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, Chinese businessmen may want to set up industries in other countries to minimise their risk. Malaysia can come up with incentives to promote these ventures.
Encourage more intra-Asean and Commonwealth trade. With Britain out of the European Union, it is a good opportunity to make Britain a premier trading partner, as was the case in the 1950s and 1960s.
Increase oil palm replanting through felling of older trees, thereby creating a decreased supply for a short period because a breakthrough is expected in China-United States trade talks, and China will buy more soya and corn oil from the US, which means reduced demand for palm oil from Malaysia.
Promote the Malaysia My Second Home Concept to more countries to offset the fall in tourist arrivals. The rich from these countries who take advantage of the concept can be made to invest in industries in Malaysia, if incentives are given.
Open up more agricultural projects, especially for large-scale cultivation of fruits and vegetables to become less dependent on costly imports.
Spend more on health services.
Extensions can be made to major hospitals to cope with present and future crises, such as outbreaks and epidemics. Train more specialists and researchers to cope with the crises.
Do not approve high-end housing and commercial projects, but reduce the glut in the property sector. However, affordable housing projects should be increased.
Reduce expenditure for the government sector and reduce wastage and extravagance. Spend more money on roads as many are in poor condition and have not been regularly resurfaced.
ANISH PUTHENVILA MATHEW
Sungai Buloh, Selangor
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times