WOU council chairman Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik cautioned against taking comfort in the nation’s strong economic fundamentals, and warned that the current crisis can shake up Malaysia’s export-dependant economy.
“The government must be fair and transparent in implementing its stimulus package because future economic security and prosperity hinges on the nation’s ability to weather this crisis,” he said, calling for a participatory and consultative approach to governance.
Tun Dr Lim, who is also Gerakan advisor, was the keynote speaker at a public forum on the global financial crisis in Malaysia titled ‘Diverse Perspectives: Rethinking Strategies, Surviving Challenges’.
The talk at the WOU Kuala Lumpur regional centre was organised by SEDAR Institute, WOU and the Centre of Public Policy Studies (CPPS). It was attended by over 160 participants, including politicians, chief executive officers, civil society advocates, investment bankers and students.
Meanwhile the first panel discussion tasked to look into the economic stimulus package and business strategies comprised of Genting Bhd executive director Datuk Dr R Thillainathan, Universiti Sains Malaysia Pro Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Lin See Yan, Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) chief executive officer Datuk Dr Michael Yeoh, and Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia deputy secretary general Datuk David Chua.
The panelists noted that the stimulus package should protect jobs rather than create new ones, which will be challenging at best. They felt Malaysia should forge forward with emphasis on ethical governance, and embrace the challenges of globalisation instead of moving centrifugally. Gerakan’s national vice president and central economic bureau chairman Datuk Mah Siew Keong moderated the discussion.
The second panel discussion, moderated by Gerakan national youth chief Lim Si Pin, comprised of The Malaysian Insider columnist Moh. Hafiz Noor Shams, Consumer Research and Resource Centre (CRRC) chief executive officer Paul Selva Raj, and CPPS Advisory Panel member Tricia Yeoh. They called for new ways of governance and in doing business, and to refrain from adopting the old ways.
The panel wanted everyone to work towards a just, democratic and economically-equitable society that does not exclude anyone. They urged the government to be accountable, transparent and judicious in spending, and for consumers to not fall into the debt trap.
In closing the forum, Gerakan president Senator Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, suggested participants make a real attempt to change for the better.