Ramon says: Take the World Bank Report seriously

April 30, 2011


Ramon* says: Take the World Bank Report seriously

COMMENT : World Bank reports are authoritative and they are therefore taken seriously by international observers, especially foreign investors.

Malaysia’s own economic estimates and assessments will be compared to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund estimates for accuracy and integrity. Our estimates will lose credibility if they are quite different from international analysis.

The World Bank has estimated Malaysia’s growth at 5.3% for 2011, and 5.5% for next year. These projections are lower than our internal estimates. Our domestic outlook for inflation could also be underestimated as the World Bank stresses the build-up taking place in inflationary pressure that could dampen private consumption and economic growth as well.

Hence the message is clear. We are going through trying times and economic strains, particularly with the continuing global economic uncertainties.

What is more worrisome is the World Bank’s highlighting of the adverse effects of the brain drain on our economy. This is having a significantly more serious negative impact on our economy than we realise, and is undermining our struggle to get out of our middle-income trap.

Interestingly too about 57% of our diaspora have been attracted to Singapore. We know why, but we are doing so little about it. The brain drain is not exclusively due to higher salaries, but the sad lack in practicing “inclusiveness” amongst all Malaysians.

One major point raised by the World Bank Report 2011 is the lack of political will to push the pace of reforms in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and the Government Transformation Programme (GTP). In regard to the New Economic Model (NEM), the World Bank mentions the “limited headway on this front”.

Poverty worst in Sabah

The findings that poverty has increased and shows an imbalance within racial groups gives much concern and underlines the need for much more urgent action to be taken to combat the malaise.

Sabah has a whopping 42.9% share of national poverty, Sarawak has 12%, while even Kedah and Perak have dismal shares of 9.8% and 8.4% respectfully. This is unsustainable without some systemic interventions.

All these World Bank findings do not encourage confidence in the socio-economic and even political prospects in the near term for Malaysia. It is imperative  that the well-thought out ETP and GTP should be revised to give much higher priority to overcome the fundamental weaknesses in our economy and society, that the World Bank has honestly but politely highlighted.

We have to answer its “call for action” with a greater sense of urgency or continue to face greater risks of more economic and social decline.

One major source of encouragement, however, is that all Malaysians, except the powerful vested interests and the extremists, will rally around the government for more rapid transformation for the benefit of all Malaysians.

*Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam was an Economist and Senior Treasury Official. He is now Chairman, ASLI Center for Policy Studies

11 thoughts on “Ramon says: Take the World Bank Report seriously

  1. But Tun Dr Mamakthir just said the World Bank is useless and its report is politically-motivated. Welcome to Bolehland, semuanya politically-motivated and highly politicised!

  2. Satu). “…the world bank report is Sh!t! sh!t! Sh!t! It is yet another western propaganda against a muslim country”

    Dua). “Kwai-Loh, we don’t need you nor your FDI, we will be developed in 2020, just you see! apa?”

    ~ freely adapted & quoted from public domain 😉

  3. Helo Ruby Stone Navaratnam

    Ask Ibrahim Ali, the tacit mouthpiece of UMNO, to advise you how to stop the brain drain. GO on call him. Maybe the Keraly fellow will also give a helping hand to turn around.
    Get real you fellow, you cannot turn the tide of events.

  4. Sentinel,

    If we want to improve and move forward, we must take criticisms in the spirit they are given.The World Bank is professional international organisation, not a political organisation. Its reports are facts based and accurate, although the language may be diplomatic and nuanced. I don’t understand that why every time we are commented upon, we go on the defensive.–Din Merican

  5. Hey Ramon the no longer MACC advisory panel chief !!. How dare you contradict our Maha Guru Mamak Octo??? Your Tan Sri title will be suspended ma !!!

  6. I had the opportunity to work at the same organisation and as a colleague to Tan Sri Ramon, and both our offices were on the 18th floor of Menara Sunway in Bandar Sunway. I find him a fair-minded and honest person. So, I think his advice about taking the World Bank’s report seriously is a good one.
    I agree, HAK. But Ramon has to be more consistent.–Din Merican

  7. Oh Dato Din, I think you missed my tongue-in-cheek sarcasm in my post. I am with you here, fully subscribe to your opinion we must accept all forms of criticism, no doubt about that Dato. I was just being sarcastic about the old fox’s comments which I am actually quite pissed-off with, I think he’s going to drag this country into destruction just to prove his personal point, I think that’s selfish of him? For what? For his son’s ascension to the post of Prime Minister? Aiyo, we shouldn’t allow that….

  8. Nobody takes your words seriously, Mr Ramaon Mala’un because your credit-worthiness had gone down the drain in the Robert Phang-Gani Patail episode : you had shown your true colour –

    So brain-drain it is NOT….. in yours or World Bank”s persepective : the brain-drain story is a cover-up for ” monies drained overseas ” for Tun M’s cronies…. who incidentally are people who failed him in the end !

  9. Dear Dato’,

    Yes, I agree that Tan Sri Ramon need to be more consistent and I also notice his sycophantic inclination sometimes, but all that should not disqualify a well-qualified and experienced person from making comments about something he knows very well. So, let’s give him another chance.



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