Will Flight MH370 Negatively Impact Malaysia’s Economy?

April 20, 2014

As the world watched the embittered-often angry-but, most of all, grief-stricken family members of the victims of Flight MH370, we were all forced to accept the horrible reality that a major jetliner seemed to disappear off the face of the earth in a culture where we always seem to strive for control in our lives. This terrible tragedy is now counted as one of the biggest mysteries in our lifetime. It’s hard to comprehend how “not knowing” must feel for the families as they may never realize the fate of their loved ones. So, now as we continue to wait and hope that the families of the victims receive the answers they so desperately need for their peace of mind and eventual healing, the world waits for answers and feels a sense of connection and a need for resolution to renew our own sense of security.

Some might wonder how this tragic event will affect Malaysia’s economy. From investors and tradesmen to entrepreneurs and firms such as Tiger-Consulting, such tragedies can and often do have a negative impact on business such as the Southeast Asian tsunami of 2004. What’s more, Malaysia is an emerging market in a time when most Asian economies are booming, and even out-pacing the U.S. and European economies as the cost of doing business here is less costly than in the West. China in particular is a key trade partner for Malaysia, and as the world is well aware, most of the passengers on Flight MH370 were Chinese Nationals. Additionally, the Chinese make up the largest source of foreign tourism to Malaysia, and the country is a huge contributor to Malaysia’s economy. Australians also contribute to Malaysia tourism as about 500,000 Aussies visit Malaysia each year. As one of the fastest growing and up-and-coming economies in Southeast Asia, Malaysia has been battered by the incident, which has put the country under a magnifying glass in worldwide media, and there could be economic implications.

However, there are factors that can create more optimism in regard to Malaysia’s economy. According to a recent article in www.ibtimes.co.uk, “Analysts do not expect a major impact on the economy, even if there is a boycott of Malaysian goods.” Krystal Tan, and Asia economist for Capital Economics, added that any economic impact is likely to be small and will only last as long as the public animosity over the lost flight.” Also in an article in edition.cnn.com Lee Hwok Aun, an economics lecturer at the University of Malaya said, “Tourism may suffer some minor setbacks initially but exports won't change much as China needs raw materials...it’s much harder to organize a boycott of component imports and China too wants a steady supply chain.” So, as the world waits for the answers about MH370’s fate-and we may never know-we can at least hope this incident will result in changes to ensure greater security, and better handling of future crises.

Sincerely,
Neil Satterwhite
Founder & CEO, Tiger-Consulting

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