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The third Youth Economic Forum (YEF), organised by the Perdana Fellows Alumni Association (PFAA) is a preeminent national gathering of some of the most respected and influential economic thinkers and policy makers of Malaysia.

Held at Securities Commission, Kuala Lumpur on 27 October, the event was organised based on the inspiration from the World Economic Forum (WEF) with the slogan “Davos For Young Malaysians”.

The theme for YEF this year was “Navigating Unchartered Waters” and had featured seven agendas: Economic Agenda, Business and Industry Agenda, Entrepreneurship Agenda, Social Agenda, Future Agenda, ASEAN Agenda and Budget Agenda.

The much-anticipated event’s main agenda had been the Economic Agenda which featured Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Nurhisyam Hussein and Dr Sukhdave Singh.

Speaking during a panel discussion on “The Economic Agenda – Mahathir-nomics 2.0” and “Vision 2020 Revisited”, former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz had said that Malaysia should ask if it is venturing into an industry with comparative advantage when considering manufacturing a third national car.
“We should channel resources to areas where we have the comparative advantage, where we have the leading edge and venture into the frontiers of that industry,” she said at the forum in Securities Commission, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

Coming from a background as a regulator, Zeti had said that the government must look at the risk factors because there were no resources to bail out failed projects.

“In this highly dynamic environment, it is no longer about the first order risk, you have to look at the second and third order risks.

“Therefore, this way you know what you are venturing into and whether you have the resilience to absorb any setbacks,” she added.

The current Permodalan Nasional Berhad group chairman said at this point, the government need to address debt accumulation and areas of inefficiency and leakages in order to remedy the country’s financial situation.

“That’s why this has to be thought out carefully,” she said.

The idea of setting up a third national car project has been on the horizon ever since Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on many occasions that the government wished to launch a third national car project after Proton and Perodua.

When asked why South Korea could do it and not Malaysia, Zeti said that the country had identified a strategic direction for doing this.

“They took care of every aspect of it, from having it located in certain places, preparing the workforce in terms of educational system which started from the school and technical level and universities,” she said.

Meanwhile, Dr Sukhdave Singh said that if the third national car project were to be taken up, it should be done only on one condition – those who propose the project must put their own money in it.
“If the project is commercially viable and private money goes into it, what is the problem right? My issue is later when they come to the government and ask for a bail out,” said the Khazanah Nasional Berhad director.

YEF 2018 had also featured three special slots with YB Senator Dr Radzi Jidin (Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs), YB Syed Saddiq (Minister for Youth and Sports) and YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed (Member of Parliament for Jeli and former Minister for International Trade and Industry).

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