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Malaysian Chinese businesses less optimistic

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A majority (78%) of Malaysia’s Chinese business community reported their firms’ sales performances were either good or satisfactory in the second half of 2013.

This was a 4% drop from the preceding half, resulting in two consecutive periods of deterioration in sales performance.

Those findings were part of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM)’s latest outlook report, which also found 60% of respondents believing the Malaysian economy will continue to struggle in 2014 and 2015, and expect the situation to look better only in 2016.

Dato’ Lim Kok Cheong, president of ACCCIM, said during a speech at a media conference for the report that possible factors behind the decline could include government policies implemented last year.

“In year 2013, the business community was affected by several policies announced by the Government such as minimum wage policy, the extension of retirement age and petrol price increased due to fuel subsidies cut,” he said.

“This was followed by rise in electricity tariffs this year and implementation of GST in year 2015 and so on.”

Despite the dip in sales performance, many of the companies surveyed said they expect to maintain headcounts and wage levels, at least until the end of the first half of 2014.

“Looking into six months ahead, some 59% of the respondents believed that wage costs  would remain unchanged for the period of first half 2014,” the report said. “However, there were 18% of respondents who felt that wage costs would increase in the same period.”

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