Asian Economic Papers. Volume 7, Issue 1, Winter 2008 by Jeffrey D. Sachs, Bokyeong Park, Wing Thye Woo, Naoyuki

By Jeffrey D. Sachs, Bokyeong Park, Wing Thye Woo, Naoyuki Yoshino (editors)

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Extra resources for Asian Economic Papers. Volume 7, Issue 1, Winter 2008

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By August 1998, the economy was in recession and there were no signs of achieving currency and share price stability. 8 percent, respectively, in the ªrst two quarters. The number of retrenchments in domestic manufacturing jumped from 19,000 in 1997 to over 83,000 in 1998. 9 percent in 1998. 3 percent recorded in 1991. The combined outcome of economic collapse and the property market crash was a massive increase in non-performing loans in the banking system. This situation was further aggravated by a “ºight to quality” of deposits from smaller banks to large, well managed banks from the fourth quarter of 1997.

The other measures introduced to boost credit expansion included an announcement on 9 September 1998 of an indicative annual loan growth target of 8 percent for commercial banks, relaxation of credit limits on lending by commercial banks and ªnancial companies for purchase of property and shares, a scheme for providing soft loans for purchase of cars, a special loan scheme for assisting smaller industries and low-income groups, and relaxing credit limits on credit cards (BNM 1999a). The new policy package placed greater emphasis on the speedy implementation of the banking and corporate restructuring programs initiated in the ªrst half of 1998.

Over many years (except during 1981–86 when Malaysia experienced a major macroeconomic crisis triggered by a public investment boom), the government had maintained a reputation for sound ªscal policies. However, the years following Prime Minister Mahathir’s Vision 2020 Statement of 1990 saw ªscal excesses of increasing intensity. As a result of the “big growth push” to propel Malaysia to developed-country status by 2020, public investment expenditure surged, pushing the ratio of total investment to GDP to 46 percent in 1997, the highest in the region at the time.

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