Youth Economic Forum 2018

About Youth Economic Forum 2018

The Youth Economic Forum (YEF) will build on past efforts for open and intellectual discourse, continuing to draw inspiration from the World Economic Forum. In the past, YEF has secured a total of 40 prominent speakers, garnering the interest of 1,176 registered attendees.

This year, our objectives are:

  1. To provide an opportunity for young professionals to deliberate on important economic and societal issues in depth.
  2. To provide a platform for leaders and public intellectuals to inform, engage and discuss issues pertaining to economic planning and governance.
  3. To provide a platform for young professionals to express recommendations, opinions and criticisms to leaders and public intellectuals.

Date: Saturday, 27 October 2018

Venue: Securities Commission Malaysia, 3 Persiaran Bukit Kiara, Bukit Kiara, 50490, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Navigating Unchartered Waters: Shaping the New Malaysia Beyond 2020

Malaysia, like many of its regional peers, has undergone a great many transformations since its independence. Having transitioned from a predominantly commodities-based economy to one whose industries are well-plugged into the global value chain, Malaysia has emerged to be a competitive, complex and robust Asian economy. But what are the factors that have enabled such a transformation? Tracing our history back to the 1980s-1990s, one can observe that the globalization and internationalization of the value chain has helped Malaysia leapfrog and industrialize. This phenomenon was also aided by factors such as a rising female labor force participation rate, an increasingly integrated ASEAN business community, and the influx of cheap foreign labor.


However, as Malaysia advances closer to its aspiration of becoming a high income and developed nation, the country now finds itself navigating unchartered waters. Malaysia faces a whole host of challenges such as its uncharacteristically high youth unemployment rate which will affect our long-term productivity growth, the perpetual exploitation of foreign labor by Malaysian companies, the persistence of inequality faced by women in the workplace, and the challenge of a hyper-Internet era, which has resulted in the digitization of the political sphere. This indicates that Malaysia is at risk of being ensnared in a deeper economic and political disenfranchisement that may derail the economy's ability to achieve its full potential. The Youth Economic Forum of 2018 seeks to explore and address some of these issues and has organized this forum along 7 distinct perspectives – namely, The Business and Industry Agenda, The Entrepreneurship Agenda, The Social Agenda, The Economic Agenda, The Future Agenda, and The ASEAN Agenda, and the Budget Agenda. The programme and theme will be further enhanced and rounded out by the various Keynote and Special Addresses, networking sessions and a Special Session.


The Organiser

The Perdana Fellowship is a prestigious programme that was established by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in 2013 to provide young Malaysians a first-hand experience in matters of national governance. Perdana Fellows Alumni Association (PFAA) is a multiracial, multicultural, non-partisan, and non-profit organisation. Our mission is to develop the next generation of Malaysian leaders in the government, corporate and nonprofit sector. Since its inception, PFAA has carried out various initiatives that revolve around leadership, governance, and volunteerism. PFAA has currently around 440 members spanning 6 batches of the Perdana Fellows Programme.

YEF 2018 Agendas

The Business & Industry Agenda

Through large institutional investment, pension, and sovereign wealth funds, a large part of corporate Malaysia is government-linked. Notably, the relationships between government-linked companies (GLCs) has evolved out of an agglomeration of policies from the previous government, which was designed naturally to serve in the best interest of the previous government at the time the policies were initially drafted.

This panel will explore how private and government-linked businesses are responding to these unique times and ideate on the way forward for corporate Malaysia.


The Entrepreneurship Agenda

There are 3 vital activities for a startup to stay alive which are fundraising, hiring, and scaling their business. In this session, we will discuss startup fundraising activities as venture capitals (VCs) raised record-breaking funds size and the government is eager to fund business through its various grants. Both cash sources are ready to be deployed into the ecosystem. We will talk about what would it takes for startup founders to tap into the cash as well as the industries that are attracting the most VCs money and government grants. Furthermore, we will also debate the role of founder-market fit during fundraising.

The Social Agenda

Two large contributing factors to Malaysia's positive economic performance are the rising female participation rate in the labour force, and the growing numbers of foreign workers in the construction industry.

However, only 54.3% of women were employed in 2016, a statistic well below the regional average. Furthermore, R.AGE's recent reports of the construction worker community living in devastating conditions brings questions to mind, especially since The World Bank writes that a 10% rise in immigrant workers is translated into a 1.1% in our real GDP.

Is it time to work on deeper-rooted gender inequality issues in Malaysia's economy, and can we envision a Malaysia with reduced dependency on the migrant construction workforce?


The Economic Agenda

Today, Malaysia’s GDP per capita is higher than a number of OECD
economies, while poverty and inequality declined considerably since independence. As a mark to the Malaysian economy’s competitiveness in a globalized world, Malaysia ranked 22nd on the IMD World Competitiveness Center Index 2018, but as Malaysia diverts from infrastructure spending-led growth to budget rationalization, what will Malaysia’s model for growth look like? The new administration has implemented popular policies by abolishing GST, reinstating fuel subsidies, and is exploring austerity as a long-term solution. How does this bode for Malaysian growth and  competitiveness over the longer term?

All this begs the question: are we on the right track and are the policies we implement today tenable for future growth? How do the consumption tax cuts and budget rationalization bode for Malaysia’s long-term growth? What kinds of fiscal policy will stimulate more desirable and inclusive growth? And how will this government deal with youth unemployment differently?

The Future Agenda

An ever-present theme in recent elections across the globe has been on the impact of technology and expanding media in shaping and gauging the decisions of voters. The furore surrounding Cambridge Analytica, for instance, revealed the extent to which our personal actions on the Internet and, in particular, social media could be used to identify specific behavioural traits. These traits, in turn, were hugely valuable to political parties aiming to target and convince voters of particular campaign messages. Beyond the use of technology in predicting and shaping electoral outcomes, this session aims to explore the ways in which new emerging technologies shape the way citizens participate in our democratic processes.

As Malaysia moves forward with this new administration, what is our role in making our democracy tick?


The ASEAN Agenda

Since its founding in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has aimed to facilitate economic growth, social progress and sociocultural developments among member states in the region. The calls for greater regional collaboration in this decidedly diverse region have been frequent, but have they been answered? The question that is often overlooked when discussing regional economic integration is whether there is social integration. In other words: is there an ASEAN regional identity and how can it be forged?

Seeing how much regional connectivity and ASEAN relations are brandied around within the business and political sphere, it is important to ask what actually binds us as a region. Are we investing in an entity based purely on geographic locale or is there an inherent identity or cultural commonality that binds the peoples of ASEAN?

The Budget Agenda

With the government’s new budget soon-to-be announced, there is a lot of speculation on whether we should expect austerity or more smart, prudent spending. Since the “A New Dawn” conference earlier this month, capital markets have experienced uncertainty in understanding the direction the new government will take, but are the financial markets too myopic? Keeping in mind the government’s public commitment to fiscal prudence, the reform of institutions, and a more sustainable plan for economic growth, what will the next
year hold in store for Malaysia? Does this plan make sense?

This fireside chat would be an opportunity for young Malaysians to better understand and talk about the policy propositions the two sides have to offer, their development logic for the country, and to look beyond the myopia of markets to better understand the direction Malaysia is heading towards.


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The Youth Economic Forum 2018 Organising Committee

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