(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said in Seremban yesterday that the government will spend on large-scale infrastructure projects as this will help trigger spin-offs in other sectors of the economy as one approach to kick-start the economy.
The question now uppermost in the people’s mind is whether this is a signal that Mahathir will be reviving all the suspended RM60 billion mega projects, like the RM15 billion Bakun hydroelectric dam project, the Kuala Lumpur Linear City project, the Gentings-Camerons-Fraser Hill Highway, the RM10 billion land bridge linking the northern peninsula and southern Thailand, the Sumatra-Malaysia bridge, etc?
The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) has come out with a more gloomy forecast about the Malaysian gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year as compared to the Government’s fourth revised projections.
MIER executive director Dr. Mohamed Ariff said yesterday that the think-tank forecast a negative GDP growth of 2.9 per cent compared with the government’s projection of between minus 1% and minus 2%.
MIER expects the Malaysian economy to start recovering from next year with a marginal growth of 0.7%, and the high-growth seen previously of 7% and above would only be achievable again in four to five years.
Arief said: "The worst should be over by early next year and we can expect the recovery process to start then with positive, albeit slow, growth from 1999 onwards."
This means that there will be full economic recovery until 2,002 or 2,003. Although MIER forecasts the economy to start recovering from next year with a marginal growth of 0.7%, the effect on the real economy will lag behind by six to 12 months, which means that when Malaysia enters the new millennium, Malaysians will be feeling the worst hit by the economic crisis which started in July last year, whether in terms of inflation, retrenchments, unemployments with their attendant social problems.