YB Tan Sri Dato Haji Muhyiddin Bin Haji Mohd Yassin
Virtual World Islamic Economic Forum Roundtable
‘Revitalisation And Reform: Catalysing Growth’
15 – 16 December 2021
Assalammualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and Good Afternoon.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
1. Alhamdullilah, Praise be to Allah that we can all virtually gather here at this prestigious international event – the World Islamic Economic Forum Roundtable.
2. First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to Tan Sri Dr Syed Hamid Jaafar Albar, Chairman of WIEF Foundation (who is also a close friend of mine) for inviting me to deliver this special address.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
3. This theme – Revitalisation and Reform: Catalysing Growth –captures the transitions the whole world is undergoing due to Covid-19 and the tectonic impact it has caused globally.
4. The pandemic will be remembered as a watershed moment which wrought metamorphic changes to the way our societies and our economies operate.
5. Despite this disruption, WIEF’s plans and initiatives have remained admirably intact, uninterrupted and astute, having evolved into virtual events, successfully reaching and engaging people at all levels – industry leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, academics and professionals and others – across the globe.
6. Since its inception in 2006, WIEF has been committed in undertaking various capacity-building programmes under its array of initiatives for all member states, including enhancing business collaborations to foster the economic well-being of all Muslim nations, promoting peace and prosperity and bridging the gap between the Muslim and non-Muslim world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
7. The pandemic has plunged all member states into uncharted waters, requiring us to adopt inclusive, multi-pronged strategies to effectively navigate the crisis. But the good news is that according to the World Bank, the global economy is projected to expand by 5.6% this year. But we must ensure that this expansion leaves no one behind.
8. While there have been positive signs of economic recovery, the economic downturn has exacerbated poverty and inequality gaps, particularly in developing nations and member countries.
9. We need to think out-of-the-box and develop innovative recovery strategies to cushion the devastating impact across all economic and social sectors. In this respect, collective efforts from every stakeholder are more crucial than ever.
10. Effective collaborations will go a long way towards inclusive and sustainable growth, and in this increasingly fast-paced world, mobilisation of resources plays an equally vital role in ensuring a sustainable development to achieve the intended socio-economic benefits in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Ladies and Gentlemen,
11. The Islamic Economy is an economic frontier that will enable us to move rapidly forward, together; particularly in the new post-Covid landscape. An abundance of opportunities exist for the Muslim world, our Muslim member states must work to establish competitive advantages and maximise these opportunities.
12. The global halal economy has grown in leaps and bounds over the years, with pertinent areas of growth such as the halal food industry, Islamic finance and banking, pharmaceuticals, tourism as well as education.
13. Malaysia, for instance, remains a key player under the Global Islamic Economy Indicator (GIEI) since the past decade, driven by a strong Islamic finance ecosystem and creative initiatives.
14. Global recognition has placed my country, Malaysia, on track towards realising its full potential as a global Islamic economy and finance hub in the ASEAN region and beyond. Besides being a pioneer in the halal industry, Malaysia continues to lead as one of the largest Sukuk issuers in the world, accounting for 32% of the global Sukuk issuances in 2020. One of the Malaysian Government’s initiatives was the launching of RM500 million worth of Sukuk Prihatin Islamic bonds during my premiership in August last year.
15. As part of the Key Economic Growth Activities (KEGA), Islamic economy sectors will continue to flourish in Malaysia, through government support and the role of agencies such as Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporations (MDEC).
16. In moving with digital age, the participation of Malaysian Bumiputera entrepreneurs and MSMEs in the field of digital economy will lead to more breakthroughs as well as penetration of halal markets, both locally, abroad, and online.
17. The economic empowerment of the Ummah is crucial to ensure a fair and equitable distribution across all targeted groups to spur Malaysia towards becoming a prosperous and inclusive nation in line with the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.
18. In line with Malaysia’s Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL), the evolving roles of science and digitalisation have highlighted the importance to embrace digital transformation across various sectors. For instance, smart factories in the manufacturing sector whilst enhancing capabilities of domestic firms to make increasingly complex and sophisticated products at a minimal cost.
19. The need to move beyond traditional frameworks and conventional wisdom amid challenges, exploring innovative approaches and cultivating new ideas will foster positive change in the Muslim world and beyond.
20. We must embrace disruptive change as a catalyst of growth to be ‘future-proof’ in response to the ever-changing business and economic landscapes. A paradigm shift must be made by leveraging market opportunities with new innovations, reforming business models and disruptive technologies as potential game changer to accelerate growths of all sectors.
21. The strength of human capital must be optimised by prioritizing skills enhancement in the workforce, particularly in areas of high value growth such as technology, financial services, and energy. We must empower the young to pioneer this exciting new frontier as Muslims and Malaysians enter the “Metaverse.”
22. In addition, bottom-up initiatives through community empowerment, for example, micro, small and medium businesses should constantly be afforded with opportunities to adapt and grow to set their businesses apart. Empowering the role of Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) as forefront in regional integration, meanwhile, will enhance the focus and mandate to drive economic growth and development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
23. I was honoured to be appointed Chairman of Malaysia’s National Recovery Council where I am directly responsible for drawing up the overall national roadmap towards full economic recovery. This 2021 roundtable theme strikes at the core of Malaysia’s recovery strategy pillars.
24. Since the onset of the pandemic and when I took over office as the Prime Minister early last year, the Malaysian Government implemented the ‘6R’ Strategy, that is Resolve, Resilience, Restart, Recovery, Revitalise and Reform. This approach guided the implementation of Malaysia’s National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) because of which, to date, Malaysia has recorded over 96.8% adults who have been fully vaccinated.
25. The rolling out of 8 stimulus packages worth RM530 billion, also during my premiership, has aided all targeted groups and provided support to businesses. According to the MOF’s Economic Outlook 2022 report, Malaysia is on track towards economic recovery, with full-year growth in the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) expected to grow between 3 and 4% this year, and further expansion between 5.5 and 6.5% next year. The multiplier effects on the economy will further strengthen Malaysia’s growth prospects and fiscal resilience in the long run.
26. Malaysians, on the whole, continue to benefit from all-encompassing social protection programmes as well as improved income and job prospects notwithstanding the difficult situations they were in. The continuation of all these efforts and programmes by the present government under the stewardship of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, will see that Malaysia’s recovery agenda is realized soon for the benefit of all.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
27. Let us make use of momentous occasions such as this to work together to discuss opportunities for business partnerships in the Muslim world, promote global commerce and economic wellbeing while propagating Islamic ethics of peace, fairness and equality.
28. Let us continue stimulating further connections between the Islamic and non-Islamic world, delivering growth and prosperity for people all over the world. By doing business together in the years ahead can we build bridges worldwide for the greater good of mankind.
29. I wish all participants a successful roundtable and fruitful deliberation. With that, thank you.
Assalammualaikum Warrahmatullahi Wabarrakatuh.