CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT: 2016
The Malaysian economy achieved a credible rate of growth of 5.0 per cent in 2015 (2014: 6.0 per cent) against the backdrop of moderated global and heightened financial market volatility.
The year also witnessed a crowning victory for the Malaysian chair of ASEAN in the form of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Declaration on 31 December 2015. A laudable effort which spanned more than two decades by a diverse group consisting of the ten-member ASEAN Community.
As an economic institute of considerable stature, MIER in 2015 got its 'act together' after the internal decision in 2014 to implement an orderly and planned 'sea of change process'.
The first strand of change process is an organizational makeover where there was once only MIER, a company limited by guarantee, devoted to undertaking serious economic research undertakings. Come 2016 there would be two separate entities, namely, a Foundation named Economic Research and Development Finance Foundation (ERDFF) and Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER). Separation and division of services would sharpen organisational focus and optimize utilization of resources such as human talent and financial capital: ERDFF, acting in the role as a conduit for capital raising' with MIER resolutely focused on national-level scholarly research undertakings through elevated competency building as well as breeding of a number of thought leaders and specialists in economics, trade and investment.
Corollary to the first, the second strand has to do with enhancing organizational capacity. At both end of the spectrum across broad functional and managerial levels the Institute will seek to draw in both fresh talent as well as experienced researchers (at both Masters and Ph.D. levels) into its fold. The hallmark of quality track record in research competency in frontier areas is very much evident. Notably, leadership in such competency areas as input- output analyses and computable generalized equilibrium modelling on the national economy would be extended. It is a rare occurrence that such analyses would be applied to new areas of research covering sectoral/industry areas, trade and balance of payments areas, state economies based on spatial distribution and more significantly, in areas covering relative global value chain mapping with its attendant impact analyses. Towards this end these research undertakings will generate the desired global best-of-breeds research reports, innovative findings and publications. Lofty goal as it may be the Institute is resolute in working hard to achieve the said medium term goal within the 're-branding of MIER' term from 2016 through 2018.
For the year 2015 the Institute's core activities continued unabated. Indeed 2015 turned out to be a busy year.
First off, the Institute's regular sharing and updating events with the Institute's stakeholders as well as the media fraternity every quarter took place as follows:
Quarterly Surveys results & Economic Outlook 4Q14 January
Twentieth Corporate Economic Briefing April
Thirtieth National Economic Briefing July
Quarterly Survey Results & Economic Outlook 3Q15 October
The serial briefings culminated in the Institute's annual National Economic Outlook Conference in 2016-2017 on 24 & 25 November 2015. It was officially opened by the Second Minister of Finance YB Dato' Seri Ahmad Husni bin Mohamad Hanadzlah.
A total of 12 conference papers in four separate sessions were presented followed by a 3-member panel discussion. We are grateful to both the IMF and ADB who continued to support the Institute by sending their representatives to deliver the requisite global and regional economic outlooks. The year’s theme was 'Economic Development and Inclusive Growth'.
The Conference presenters dealt with several sub-themes such as household profile & welfare, economic & social inclusiveness from language, cultural and educational perspectives, affordable housing, social safety net and income inequality, and not least, Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), regional integration and income inequality.
Adding to a busy 2015, the Institute played hosts to three regional fora and a regional publication launch by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The first was the ADB Think Tank Development Forum on 8-9 September. The Institute partnered the ADB in hosting only the third such Development Forum. It was a cooperative and collaborative platform among Asian and Pacific Think Tanks. The 2015 theme was 'Advancing innovation and inclusion for a prosperous Asia.'
The second was the Second Research Institutes Network (RIN) Roundtable on Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Cooperation Economic Partnership (RCEP) on 31 January 2016. The Institute co-hosted the event with Economic Research Institute Asia (ERIA).
ADB Bond Monitor launch at Bank Negara was the third in October. Another dimension of 2015 is the undertaking of two multi-year commissioned consultancy projects with the State Governments of Sabah and Terengganu. These two research undertakings were testimony and recognition of the Institute's competency in input-output analyses. Another, no less important, a research undertaking was with the State Government of Selangor.
We are grateful to the Government of Malaysia for its continued and unfailing financial support to the Institute. To other donors and contributors, we also record our appreciation.
I wish to express my appreciation to the Institute's senior Management, Research Staff and other administrative personnel for their continued services and support.
I also would like to thank fellow members of the Board of Trustees and the Advisory Panel for their cooperation and contributions.
YBhg Tan Sri Dato Seri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob
15 June 2015
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