Page 9 - Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Directory 2020-2021
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 MALAYSIA CONVENTION & EXHIBITION DIRECTORY 2020/2021 EDITORIAL
  Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said: “The move is timely as the tourism sector can help the country accelerate the economic recovery phase. This is because the tourism sector involves other sub-sectors of the economy such as hospitality (hotels and other types of tourist accommodation), transport, restaurant operators and tourist guides.”
In fact, just two days after the RMCO was implemented, Malaysia Airports reported an uptick in the number of flights offered by local airlines at KLIA. According to Group CEO of Malaysia Airports Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh, the average number of daily flights increased 15%, from 97 to 122.
“The country’s three main airlines – Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Malindo Air – have reopened local flights and have aggressively stepped up their offerings to woo Malaysians to take a break and experience travel after a three-month stay at home,” he said.
Mohd Shukrie added that similar patterns were observed at other international and domestic airports, where passenger movements have increased three-fold over two days since the relaxation of the movement restrictions.
Although interstate travel has been allowed and most businesses have reopened under the RMCO, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as set by the National Security Council and the Ministry of Health are still in place and are to be strictly observed.
The 40 initiatives under Penjana – which range from wage subsidies, flexible working arrangements, and digitization
of SMEs and mid-tier companies, to tax incentives for car purchase, promotion of the gig economy and microcredit financing – seem to be in line with the World Bank’s prescription for growth.
The World Bank country manager for Malaysia Firas Raad said that pro-growth policies, together with incentives to push the private sector, were crucial to help the nation recover from the economic downturn. But he believes the country first needs to continue its effective public health measures so that there is no second wave or a return of the COVID-19 virus.
“Aside from that, (it must) continue supporting vulnerable households and focus on the firms that need support and recovery, especially the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and then start to think about the medium-term reform agendas,” he added.
The World Bank, which had initially forecast a GDP growth of 4.5% for Malaysia in 2020 before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, had cut it down to -0.1% in April 2020. In June, the forecast was lowered further to -3.1%. But it is still confident that the economy will recover starting from the end of the year and return to growth to pre-pandemic levels in 2021.
“Malaysia’s economy remains resilient and rests on strong fundamentals,” the bank said in a statement. “Its diversified economic structure, sound financial system, effective public health response and proactive macroeconomic policy support suggest that Malaysia will be able to ride out the storm better than many other countries.”
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