Eminent personalities discuss global economic crisis

The sixth instalment of Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s Penang Lecture series brought together two eminent personalities, Prof KS Jomo and Datuk Seri Panglima Andrew Sheng, to WOU’s main campus.

Prof Jomo, a leading scholar and expert on the political economy of development, spoke on “The Global Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Asia”. He currently holds the position of Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development in the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

Meanwhile Andrew Sheng, who moderated the talk, is a director of Khazanah Nasional Bhd and chief adviser to the China Banking Regulatory Commission. He was recently appointed as an expert member of the National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC).

Prof Jomo giving his lecture.

Prof Jomo giving his lecture.

Jomo expounded on the financial impact of the crisis upon developing countries in Asia. He went on to say that most developing countries are innocent victims in a global economy that practises double standards.

He stated that China and India are the two best performing economies now due to the stringent capital controls they had imposed in the past. This has helped them to weather the current crisis far better than most developed countries.

He quoted social data from the International Labour Organisation which indicated that over 200 million more of the workforce will be poorer while unemployment figures will rise by 51 million. Social unrest caused by the crisis will be rampant, while US intelligence reports suggest that the crisis is now posing the greatest security risk.

Answering questions posed by the audience - (from left) Jomo, Andrew Sheng and Hamdan.

Answering questions posed by the audience - (from left) Jomo, Andrew Sheng and Hamdan.

The lecture culminated with a Q & A session chaired by Khazanah’s Vice President of Strategy and Investment Research, Hamdan Majeed. Prof Jomo and Sheng responded to questions from the floor, including from notable figures like Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) northern branch chairman Dato’ O K Lee, businessman Dato’ Dr Neoh Soon Bin and Bukit Bendera Member of Parliament Liew Chin Tong.

Some 300 guests from the academia, government, corporate sector and NGOs around Penang attended the talk, including WOU Vice Chancellor Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, USM’s Prof Dato’ Anwar Fazal, and Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) president S.M. Mohd Idris.

Listening attentively.

Listening attentively.