More trouble ahead if Sabah economy not managed well, warns think tank

(FMT) – A think tank has warned of more difficult times for Sabah if the state’s economy is not managed well, calling for greater attention on economic management and leadership.

Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah director Mohd Yaakob Johari said the state government also needs to release its revised GDP for this year as Sabahans might be worried about whether the state has enough funds to stimulate the economy.

He also pointed out that the state’s economy had already been on a downward trend over the past two years, making it hard for Sabah to attain a projected GDP growth of between 4% to 5.1% in 2020.

“The tourism sector has no doubt been badly battered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The loss in the sector could easily shave a quarter of the services sector’s contribution, which is RM39.4 billion to the total GDP (at RM85.4 billion) in 2020.

“If this is not addressed well, through a well-targeted stimulus package, Sabah’s economy could contract to between -8.0% to -11% and dive into deep recession this year.

“To make matters worse, in 2019, Sabah registered 5.8% unemployment, the highest in at least 10 years with 117,000 unemployed. Out of this 27,419 were graduates,” he said in a statement today.

Yaakob said the state government will also need to manage health and migrant issues, with a spike in Covid-19 cases related to migrants, or risk greater trouble ahead.

“We could expect higher unemployment, bankruptcy, corporate failures, business closures and joblessness with untold suffering for ordinary Sabahans,” he added.