Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nor Mohamed: Malaysians must accept reality of prolonged financial crisis

Sunday March 1, 2009

Nor Mohamed: Malaysians must accept reality of prolonged financial crisis

GEORGE TOWN: Malaysians must accept the reality that the global financial crisis is expected to prolong till next year, Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said.

He warned that the country was no longer in a comfort zone.

“Using the football analogy, we are defending the ball which is now in the penalty box,” he told newsmen after presenting the Amanah Ikthiar Malaysia micro-credit scheme aid to the first 50 recipients at its office here yesterday.

Nor Mohamed said there were almost daily reports of retrenchments, cash flow problems and bankruptcy in major markets worldwide.

He said economic indicators in Europe, Japan and the United States were reflecting a prolonged crisis which would not end this year.

“Since Malaysia is plugged into the international economy, we cannot expect to be spared the ill effects.

“Europe, the United States and Japan have accepted the reality. (of the situation). I think Malaysia must accept it too,” he said.

He said such worries translated into more challenges which the country must meet with the tabling of a mini Budget on March 10 and convincing the private sector to work with the Government.

In such a stormy climate, Nor Mohamed said Malaysians must stand united regardless of race, religion, political or ideological differences as only through a united stand could the future generation reap the benefits.

In Kuala Lumpur, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said efforts were under way to ensure that the housing sector remained afloat despite the economic crisis.

Ong said the Government would be monitoring the housing industry to ensure it continued to flourish as there were 140 sectors that were involved directly and indirectly in the industry.

He said there was a need to address the lack of confidence by some developers who were worried whether their projects would get a response if launched and concerns from buyers.

“Some buyers are also worried that they may lose their jobs or part of their income,” he said after handing over symbolic keys to MK Land-owned Metropolitan Square Milan Condominium buyers here yesterday.

He also called on the private sector to come up with innovative strategies to build low and medium-cost homes which would help sustain their workforce.

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