The year 2017 marked the thirty-second year of the Institute's operations. The Institute has successfully carried out its activities as an economic think-tank, thanks to the dedication of its staff members, associate research fellows and friends of the Institute. In executing its work plan for the year, the Institute was able to progress successfully in spite of its usual financial constraint. I would like to put on record here my sincere gratitude to the members of the Board of Trustees and the Advisory Panel for their guidance and contribution throughout the year.
The core activities of the Institute involve macroeconomic surveillance and forecasting. These are supplemented by the quarterly surveys on business conditions, consumer sentiments, automotive industry, retail trade, residential property, and tourism market. There is also the quarterly CEO Confidence survey, a co-branding initiative between MIER and Vistage Malaysia Sdn. Bhd., which is an organization for chief executive officers.
In addition, there is the FMM-MIER Business Confidence Index, which is the product of a strategic alliance between the Institute and the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) beginning in the first-half of 2012. These important activities have contributed much to the Institute's profile. Many Government agencies and institutions, as well as the business community, closely follow the Institute's research, forecasting and survey findings.
The Institute also takes pride in its capacity or institutional building and in undertaking of training projects. These projects have been found useful in efforts to tackle issues in development planning, human resource development, and economic integration.
It is noteworthy that several prominent international organizations have often requested the collaboration of MIER in carrying out such projects.
A recent, but significant, activity that the Institute has added to its portfolio is the construction of a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model for the Malaysian economy. The extensive use of CGE models as policy tool in the areas of international trade, planning, public finance, environmental and resource management, structural adjustment and the transition to a market economy, has convinced the Institute to pursue this ambitious project task. Upon the completion of the construction of the CGE model for Malaysia, the Institute aims to make itself the centre of CGE research and training in the country.
Today, the Institute takes pride of its many clients including the Government of Malaysia, several State Governments in the Federation, as well as domestic corporations. At the international level, several ASEAN governments, and regional and international organisations have consulted with MIER.
The above mentioned activities have helped enhance our understanding of the Malaysian and regional economies, and we, in turn, have been instrumental in the successful transfer of knowledge and expertise to the transition economies. Our involvements in these international projects have, needless to say, helped enhance the reputation of MIER overseas.
In 2016, the Institute organized two 'watershed events'. The first in January 2016 when MIER together with the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO) and the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) hosted a Research Institutes Network (RIN) meeting in Kuala Lumpur on the 31st January, 2016. Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, Secretary General of MITI Malaysia, gave a special session on the outlook for the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Malaysia.
In September 2016, the Institute hosted its 30th Anniversary Celebration Dinner. The Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, YBhg Tan Sri Datuk Muhammad bin Ibrahim delivered the Keynote Address and officiated the event. The governor's speech at the MIER dinner was widely reported in both the local and international media.
Finally, in December, MIER organised its high-profile premier annual year-end National Economic Outlook Conference (NEOC). In addition to its core research activities and the NEOC, the Institute also organises conferences, seminars, workshops, economic briefings and training workshops.
The Institute is always mindful of its responsibility to the public-at-large. The Executive Director, as well as research staff members, regularly contributes articles on topical issues to the local print media. Besides helping the public to keep abreast of developments in the economy, it also stimulates thinking on economic policy issues. On top of that, the Institute's research staff members also write papers for presentation at conferences organised by other institutions, both at home and abroad.
Local and foreign guests, as well as visitors, frequently stop by at MIER. For a small fee, the Institute provides consultations to organisations seeking advice or alternative views of economic events and issues in the country.
In order to meet the Institute's mandated objectives, it needs adequate funding. Towards this end, fund-raising drives to enhance the MIER Endowment Fund have become a norm at the Institute. We are grateful for the contributions made so far by our legion of contributors and financial supporters.
We are particularly grateful to the Government of Malaysia, especially Tan Sri Dato' Dr Ali Hamsa (the Chief Secretary) for approving the renewal of the lease of our premises in Jalan Bukit Petaling.
Our deepest and sincere appreciation goes to the Ministry of Finance (MOF) for its support and its confidence in the Institute's research activities and financial support. The Government commits to an annual grant each year till 2020. Without such support, the Institute would have not been able to undertake independent economic research of interest to the nation.
Therefore, we sincerely look forward to the Government for its continued support, both as a benefactor and as a client of the Institute.
We also acknowledge the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), which gave tremendous financial and technical assistance from 1987 until the first quarter of 2001. I am confident that as MIER gains in credibility and experience, it will further increase its capacity to fulfil its goals and mandates.
Posted by kala at 11:15 AM
Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob
20 September 2017