Lessons from the Asian financial crisis

The latest instalment of WOU’s Public Lecture Series saw distinguished financial expert Datuk Seri Panglima Andrew Sheng deliver a lecture entitled “From Asian to Global Financial Crisis” at the main campus.

This is also the title of Sheng’s latest book, which was on sale. A book signing session by the author received positive response from those eager to grab a copy of the limited edition book.

Andrew Sheng autographs his book.

Andrew Sheng autographs his book.

Speaking to a 150-strong audience, Sheng gave an overview of the Asian crisis in the 90s and then proceeded to link it to an understanding of the current global crisis. pus, he advised partners to “talk about your values, what or how your feel about things.”

Sheng, who holds numerous prestigious advisory positions locally and abroad, elaborated on some common thoughts by experts writing on the Asian crisis. He also provided a glimpse into the Asian economic scenario in the 80s and 90s, with particular attention to the Japanese economy which led to the infamous financial crisis that plagued countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, and Malaysia.

Dato' Lee Kah Choon (right) of investPenang chairs the talk by Andrew Sheng.

Dato' Lee Kah Choon (right) of investPenang chairs the talk by Andrew Sheng.

It was interesting to note that back in 1990 and 1995, the size of Japan’s economy was relatively bigger than the size of all the other Asian economies put together. Sheng predicted that by 2010, China would overtake Japan in terms of gross domestic product.

He also touched on some of the common mistakes committed by Asian economies, highlighting their biggest blunder as underestimating the impact of capital flows. He also gave examples of mistakes by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), calling them the Washington Consensus Mistakes.

The crowd listening to the lecture.

The crowd listening to the lecture.

The thoroughly informative and at times entertaining lecture was well-received by the audience. It culminated in a Q&A session moderated by Dato’ Lee Kah Choon, Director and Chairman of the Executive Committee of investPenang and Director of Penang Development Corporation.

Sheng is the Chief Advisor to the China Banking Regulatory Commission and expert member of the National Economic Advisory Council of Malaysia. He is also adjunct professor at Universiti Malaya and Tsinghua University in China. He previously served as Chief Economist in Bank Negara.