I'm not an economic student but I'll share what I think Malaysia needs ATM:
Malaysia depends heavily on 3 main sectors: oil & gas, palm oil, & electronics. Together, the holy trinity comprised 63% of Malaysian exports in 2007. The recent economic dilemma is hitting hard on the prices of these commodities, & cracks are beginning to show in Malaysia's economy. Diversification is important to buffer the effect of external factors on the holy trinity, hence reducing the effects on Malaysian economy. Diversification will lead to a more independent Malaysia & provides more job opportunities, which is something we need to weather the storm.
We need diversification
Since low-cost ventures is practically a religion here, we rely heavily on cheap labor, mainly foreign workers. Foreign workers make up 20% of the overall Malaysian workforce in 2007. Not only does this present a problem of heavy capital outflow due to remittances, but it also takes a toll on Malaysian society. Reports of abuse & increased social problems come hand-in-hand with this situation.
Rein in more local workers
The Made in Malaysia tag is no longer viable today. The world is looking at China & Vietnam as sources of low-cost, good-quality products. Malaysia needs to up its ante & remove the illusion that saying "Made in Malaysia" is good enough to change the current status quo. A wake-up call is necessary to find the flaws in Malaysia's manufacturing & troubleshoot the problems to make Malaysia more competitive in the global market. Najib's idea to change the tag from "Made in Malaysia" to "Designed in Malaysia" is a welcome move. We already have the talent & the brains to succeed - take Jimmy Choo. We just need the focus & the capital to develop it.
Malaysia's economy is on a downhill
The NEP was meant to help the poor (mainly Bumiputeras) to be able to contribute to Malaysia's economy. Today the NEP is nothing but a tool to help the rich get richer & the poor get poorer. The ethnic selectivity of NEP is no longer relevant today as the poor also includes Chinese, Indians & other ethnic group. To build solidarity among the races & to attract foreign investments, we have to abolish racist mentalities that are unattractive & liberalization is a good way to go. With liberalization, there can be better harmony among the different races which is crucial for a multi-racial country like Malaysia. Liberal economic practices attract foreign investors which is needed to boost our economy.
The recent boom in Malaysian stocks was primarily due to the good-feel spirit of Malaysian brokers & shareholders. It's important for traders to maintain their prices & for consumers to give continuous support to the economy. Don't hide your money under or pillow or in the bank. Spend what is necessary for daily living & to help the economy. Mutual support is important & it's a 2 way street. Support SMEs & entrepreunership.
Support local shops
Again, I remind you that I'm not an economic student. This is how I best understand the situation in Malaysia & how we can take steps to overcome the economic crisis at our door. Malaysia needs to push aside old views that no longer work for new & improved ones for the benefit of the nation. Feel free to comment & share your views on this matter.