MALAYSIANS should brace themselves for tougher economic times as inflation is projected to rise this year, said former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“With the electricity subsidies stopped, spike in fuel prices and weak domestic demand will only make matters worse for our already battered economy due to COVID-19.
“This is very concerning as many have lost their incomes and had their salaries cut,” he said in a Facebook post.
Last week, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) announced that the nation’s economy contracted by 5.6% last year due to restrictions on mobility, especially on inter-district and inter-state travel which weighed on economic activity during the fourth quarter.
On inflation, BNM said it declined to -1.5% last quarter, partly reflecting the larger decline in retail fuel prices compared to the same period last year.
However, the central bank said that Malaysia’s economy is set to recover this year due to continued growth in the household and business segments.
Focus on reskilling and upskilling
Touching on the matter, Najib said the inflation rate last year nosedived due to electricity rebates, lower fuel prices (RM1.30 per litre), and weak domestic demand, which is not the case this year.
“In March last year, I had suggested to the Government to set a floor price of RM1.50 per litre so that price fluctuations would not be too big and the taxes collected could be used to stabilise prices again.
“But the idea was not implemented but the Government levied a hidden tax of 10% instead,” he said.
On job creation, the Pekan MP pointed out that the BNM report indicated that out 100 jobs lost, only 43 people managed to secure a new employment.
“But those in the tourism industry had it worse. Only 28 people out of 100 who lost their jobs managed to get a new employment.
“Therefore, I urge the Government to consider my proposal during Budget 2021 debate for an upskilling/reskilling loans to be given to those who lost their jobs, especially the ones working in the slow recovering sectors like tourism,” Najib opined. – Feb 13, 2021.