February 28, 2021 House of Trust

Business Sentiment Report 2019/2020

The annual Malaysian Business Sentiment Survey 2019/2020 conducted jointly by Monash University Malaysia and CPA Australia identifies key issues that define competitive conditions and development trajectories of Malaysian firms. Besides that, the survey also contextualizes business leaders’ sentiments within the Malaysian setting in addition to the challenges and opportunities which businesses face.

Several key findings from this survey include:

  • Business leaders are cautiously proactive due to the rapid diffusion of disruptive technology and volatile global economic environment. 
  • Challenges faced by the Malaysian economy include slower global growth, weaker Ringgit,  increasing cost of doing business, increasing adoption of industry 4.0 technologies, intensive competition for foreign direct investment, pent-up race relation and ethnic issues impacting investor confidence 
  • Meanwhile, the outlook on international trade remains less rosy with the potential of a full blown Trade War and nationalism fuelling inward looking policies. To counter this, greater efforts are needed to foster ASEAN cooperation in addition to China, India and Indonesia as anchor regional players to regional economic development. 
  • In terms of Public policy, the revival of the mega infrastructure projects,  prudent management of Deficit and National Debt, transition from labour intensive to technology intensive workforce with high value jobs and improvement of transportation system is seen to enhance the national outlook for the business environment.
  • Overall, the outlook for the business environment remains favourable, with 69% of respondents indicating that the business environment in the next 12 months will be better. Only 16% of respondents expect a worse year ahead in 2020. 
  • 74% of respondents were confident of their company’s prospects for the next 12 months, up from 71% in the previous year. 
  • The top four issues senior managers are most concerned which would impact their business prospects in 2019 are: weakening of the Ringgit (34%); the cost of doing business (29%); increasing competition (26%); and global economic uncertainty (26%). 
  • Meanwhile, the top four factors to have a positive impact on business prospects over the next 12 months include: customer loyalty (25%); cost reduction (24%); expansion of the market (20%); and strengthening of the Ringgit (20%). 
  • The top three areas for investments where firms plan to spend more time in 2019 are cost management (35%); seeking new markets (29%); and marketing and branding (27%). 
  • Firms believe that Malaysian Universities should focus on collaboration with industry (34%), developing Industry 4.0 capabilities among graduates (32%) and developing training programs for industry (29%). 
  • Besides, the top skills university graduates should posess include Critical thinking skills (38%), Initiative and self-motivation (33%) and Teamwork capability (33%). 

For the full report, refer to the attachment below:

Source: Monash Univerity Malaysia and CPA Australia

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