Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccination success key to economic recovery: APIB

KUALA LUMPUR: The successful rollout of Malaysia’s Covid-19 immunisation programme will ensure a quicker vaccination of the population and this will be a key factor in determining the country’s road to economic recovery.

Asia Pacific Investment Bank (APIB) director of asset management department Lai Heow Gran said the programme running as scheduled would curb the spread of the pandemic and help drive the economic recovery.

However, there is a danger of the economy being at risk if the speed of administering the vaccination is unable to keep up with the evolution of the virus.

Lai, who expressed this view at APIB’s online webinar last week Wednesday, said Malaysia’s Leading Indicator Index had risen to 7.1 per cent last November from 6.3 per cent in October), with exports of semi-conductors being the key contributor.

“The economies of Singapore and China are already beginning to recover, and Malaysia is expected to benefit as the two countries are its largest trading partners,” he added.

He expects Bank Negara Malaysia’s overnight policy interest rate to remain at 1.75 per cent in the first half of 2021 to drive market growth and maintain the loose monetary policy.

Lai said while the Covid-19 pandemic had affected the overall national economy, it also acted as a catalyst for the rapid development of Malaysia’s e-commerce sector.

In 2020, the total value of the online transactions (e-Money) in Malaysia was at a record high of RM29.4 billion. This was a substantial increase of RM11.2 billion or 60 per cent from RM18.2 billion in 2019.

According to Bank Negara’s data, the total value of Malaysia’s e-Money (through e wallet) was only RM7.7 billion in 2016, RM9.1 billion in 2017, RM11 billion in 2018, RM18.2 billion in 2019 and continued breaking new records with a sharp increase to RM29.4 billion in 2020.

“On the whole, Malaysia’s e-commerce will continue to show positive development these two years. It is estimated that the total value of e-commerce will reach RM36.1 billion in 2021 and exceed RM40 billion by 2022 to reach RM41.7 billion,” Lai noted.

Source: NST