It used to be that whoever wanted to seek a higher paying job, Middle East is always an option. Countries like UAE (including Dubai and ABu Dhabi) , Saudi Arabia, Bahrain offer employment at a salary many times Malaysian employers would pay. SO in the past, we have nurses, doctors, construction workers, engineers etc going in droves to Middle East to seek greener pasture. During my younger days, I always looked with envy those colleaques in the medical and nursing fields going over to Middle East to ‘dig gold’ literally.
But even Dubai is now in trouble. Construction works have slowed or halted in some cases. Economy slows down and there are now retrenchment of thousands of foreign workers.
Proleads, a Dubai-based market research firm, predicted in a February report that nearly 53 per cent of the Emirates’ construction projects — worth an estimated US$582 billion — have been put on hold and more may be frozen this year.
Dubai used to represent money and hope for many foreigners to work and send money home , now it has become a place where property prices have declined and many retrenched foreigners are caught in a situation where they have hardly any money to pay for their mortgages of properties they bought in Dubai and with the possibility of going to jail for failing to pay what was borrowed.
Taiwan, used to be one of the four tigers or dragons of Asia (the others being Hong Kong, Korea, and Singapore), is now facing a record recession. It was reported today that Taiwan’s economy shrinks by 8.4% in the last quarters, far worst than what was expected .
Singapore’s state owned company Tamasek lost about 50 billions of investments so far which if converted to our currency , is more than 100 Billions..
When the subprime problems surfaced last year, Malaysian leaders were very optimistic,saying that Malaysia would not be affected much. Yes, at that time, because Malaysia did not have much investments in derivatives and shares of US banks and so on, we were not affected
But many people at the time, including this blogger, believed that as a country which depends on export and trade of our goods and primary commodities, , any slow down in our traditional export markets will eventually affect us , as orders will decrease and once the present orders are fulfilled, there would be hardly any new orders for our goods and commodities.
Now, a few months down the road, almost all countries have slowed down and most advanced economy have gone into recession. As a result, demand for goods and our commodities is slowing and the worst is yet to come.. FDI decreases drastically and many companies have no choice but to downsize or close, retrenching workers in the thousands…
When Dubai and Taiwan are so badly hit, can you imagine what will happen to our country?
I think Malaysias economy will shrink, too, in 2009 and no more in the positive territory.
The question is just how much it will shrink.