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Mr Calvin Cheng

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BFM PODCAST: In crisis, better to include than exclude?

Produced by: Sim Wie Boon Presented by: Lyn Mak, Noelle Lim, Roshan... Read More

Prospects and risks for Malaysia’s economy in 2021

A version of this article was originally published on Malaysiakini As a... Read More

Fiscal size matters: the PERMAI assistance package and Malaysia's economic response to COVID-19

On 18 January 2021, a week into the Movement Control Order for... Read More

Pushed to the margins: The unequal impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on marginalised Malaysian workers

Key takeaways Women, youth, and lower-educated workers have borne the brunt of... Read More

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP): ​What this means for ASEAN and Malaysia

By Dr Juita Mohamad Fellow Economics, Trade & Regional Integration juita.mohamad@isis.org.my Calvin... Read More

Budget 2021: a Quick Look

The ​2021 Budget​, along with ​2021 Fiscal Outlook and Revenue Estimates was... Read More

The Sabah Crisis

Article by Bridget Welsh and Calvin Cheng A version of this article... Read More

Pandemic Economics: Impacts of COVID-19 on the Malaysian economy

Presentation by: Calvin Cheng Date: 8 October 2020 Presented at: 2020 Research... Read More

Trends in Malaysia's Future of Work

Presentation by: Calvin Cheng with Harris Zainul Date: 30 September 2020 Presented at:... Read More

Will PENJANA Revive The Economy?

Produced by: Hezril Asyraaf Presented by: Lee Chwi Lynn We take a... Read More

We’re already in a global recession: here's what we can do

Download as PDF For those still unsure, let’s be clear: we are... Read More

Malaysia’s slick politics of oil

The deal announced last week between the state of Sarawak, Petronas and the federal... Read More

On the Unemployed Frontline: Malaysia’s Youth and Covid-19

Article by Bridget Welsh and Calvin Cheng first appeared on MalaysiaKini on... Read More

Economics of a Global Pandemic: Malaysian impacts and responses

Presentation by Calvin Cheng Date 10 April 2020 Venue REFSA webinar These... Read More

The economics of a coronavirus pandemic

The outbreak of COVID-19 in addition to movement control measures will have... Read More

Making the invisible visible: Faces of poverty in Malaysia

Article by Bridget Welsh and Calvin Cheng first appeared on MalaysiaKini on... Read More

Evaluating the BPN/BSH cash transfers in the ​Prihatin​ stimulus package

Download as PDF The PN administration announced the Prihatin economic stimulus package... Read More

COVID-19 in Malaysia: Economic Impacts & Fiscal Responses

Views expressed in this article is the opinion of the author, and... Read More

Trump’s trade deal poses new dangers to Southeast Asia

After two years of alternating between tense escalation and fleeting periods of... Read More

THE MALAYSIAN ECONOMY: ONE DECADE IN REVIEW

[gallery size="large" link="none" ids="17424,17425,17414,17415,17416,17417,17418,17419,17420,17421,17422,17423"] Read More

The Malaysian Economy: One Decade in Review

Download Infographic The Malaysian Economy: One Decade in Review How the Malaysian... Read More

Trading Troubles: The US-China trade tensions and its impacts on Malaysia and the region

Trade wars can have widespread negative impacts on the global economy, weighing... Read More

Old troubles in the new decade

A version of article was first published in the New Straits Times... Read More

Youth Unemployment in Malaysia & the Region

This article was first published in the Japan Economic Foundation (JEF) Japan... Read More

Going beyond the ballot box

BY most measures, democracy is thriving in Malaysia. Nonetheless, triumphs in voter... Read More

The US-China trade conflict: Overview, impacts, and responses

Presentation by Calvin Cheng Date 17 December 2019 Venue Conference Room, ISIS... Read More

BFM PODCAST: RCEP Goes Ahead without India

Presented by: Lyn Mak, Julian Ng, Wong Shou Ning India finally got... Read More

BFM PODCAST: THE SOCIAL RETURN OF SUBSIDIES

Presented by: Lyn Mak, Wong Shou Ning A number of new initiatives were... Read More

BFM PODCAST: TRADE WAR GAINERS AND LOSERS IN MALAYSIA

Produced by: Noelle Lim Presented by: Noelle Lim Calvin Cheng, Researcher at the Economics,... Read More

The US-China trade conflict and its potential impacts on Malaysia: Have we benefited from shifts in US import demand?

Presentation by Calvin Cheng Date 4 October 2019 Time 3:00pm Venue Conference... Read More

Economic growth stifled

IT has been more than two years since the United States first... Read More

The US-China Trade War: Is Malaysia benefiting from “diversions” in US import demand?

On 6 July 2018, the Trump administration imposed thefirst1 round of tariffs... Read More

Belt and Road Initiative: Perspectives from Malaysia

"Belt and Road Initiative: Perspectives from Malaysia Presented at the 5th Workshop... Read More

Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH)

Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH), the national cash transfer program formerly known as... Read More

Is Malaysia benefitting from the US–China trade war?

It has been almost a year since the first round of US... Read More

Debt & Despair

Economists were quick to point out that actual government debt stood at... Read More

Not the Last Samurai

EARLIER this month, the Finance Ministry announced that the government had successfully... Read More

Deflation in Malaysia: What does it mean for the Malaysian economy?

Last week, Consumer Price Index (CPI) data indicated that consumer inflation was... Read More

Outlook for the Global Economy in the Next Two Years

Paper presented by Firdaos Rosli and Calvin Cheng Download PDF Read More

Strategies for Enhancing the Japan-ASEAN Economic Partnership

Paper presented by Dato’ Steven CM Wong at 35th Anniversary Conference of... Read More

Growing risks to the Asean economy

IN 1997, the devaluation of the Thai baht marked the start of... Read More

Making BR1M Work

WHILE the Pakatan Harapan government has promised to continue the 1Malaysia People’s... Read More

Consumption Taxation Will Eventually Return

Tax (GST) would be zero-rated effective June 1, partially fulfilling a promise... Read More

Cash programmes and poverty alleviation

MANY weapons have been wielded in the war against poverty. In ancient... Read More

Don’t Expect 2018 Budget to be Panacea to All of Nation’s Problems

The 2018 Budget, set to be tabled in Parliament by Prime Minister... Read More

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Mr Calvin Cheng

Calvin Cheng is a Analyst in the Economics, Trade and Regional Integration (ETRI) division. His primary research interests include economic growth and development, trade, and social assistance. Some of Calvin’s recent work has focused on the effects of the US-China trade conflict on the region as well on the policy design of cash transfer programs, including Malaysia’s BSH/BR1M program. He holds a degree in Economics with a focus on Economics and Econometrics from Monash University in Clayton. Prior to joining ISIS Malaysia, Calvin was an economics analyst at a private sector investment firm.

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Published Articles

BFM PODCAST: In crisis, better to include than exclude?

08 February 2021
Produced by: Sim Wie Boon Presented by: Lyn Mak, Noelle Lim, Roshan Kanesan A poll conducted by the USCI Poll Research Centre showed almost half of the respondents in the T20 income group used their i-Sinar withdrawal to invest in gold and stocks. This has raised the question of whether i-Sinar is truly effective in…

Prospects and risks for Malaysia’s economy in 2021

05 February 2021
A version of this article was originally published on Malaysiakini As a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and the return of strict movement restrictions in most states continue to dampen economic activity, the outlook for Malaysia’s economic growth is beginning to look increasingly grim. A confluence of factors, both external and domestic, threaten to derail the…

Fiscal size matters: the PERMAI assistance package and Malaysia's economic response to COVID-19

20 January 2021
On 18 January 2021, a week into the Movement Control Order for most states in Malaysia, the government announced the RM15 billion ‘Perlindungan Ekonomi dan Rakyat Malaysia’ (Permai) Assistance Package. Being the fourth major stimulus package since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, what does this Permai package include? How does it compare to previous…

Pushed to the margins: The unequal impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on marginalised Malaysian workers

30 November 2020
Key takeaways Women, youth, and lower-educated workers have borne the brunt of the immediate negative employment impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, while mostly being left out of the partial recovery that followed. Despite women only making up 39 percent of all employed workers in Malaysia, they made up nearly 2 out of 3 of the…

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP): ​What this means for ASEAN and Malaysia

17 November 2020
By Dr Juita Mohamad Fellow Economics, Trade & Regional Integration juita.mohamad@isis.org.my Calvin Cheng Analyst Economics, Trade & Regional Integration calvin.ckw@isis.org.my Download as PDF 1.0 Introduction and background T he Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement (FTA) was signed on 15 November 2020 at the 2020 ASEAN Summit. The RCEP trade agreement comprises 15…

Budget 2021: a Quick Look

11 November 2020
The ​2021 Budget​, along with ​2021 Fiscal Outlook and Revenue Estimates was proposed by the Finance Minister on 6 November 2020. This article takes a quick look at the federal government’s fiscal position and growth projections, along with some initiatives in the Budget related to social assistance, TVET, digitalisation, and automation. Download as PDF By…

The Sabah Crisis

25 October 2020
Article by Bridget Welsh and Calvin Cheng A version of this article was originally published on Malaysiakini Download as PDF Yesterday, Sabah's Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) was extended until November 9 – making it over a month that the state will face serious hardship as its citizens struggle to get the virus under control.…

Pandemic Economics: Impacts of COVID-19 on the Malaysian economy

08 October 2020
Presentation by: Calvin Cheng Date: 8 October 2020 Presented at: 2020 Research Institutes Network (RIN) Online Workshop Series on COVID-19 Download Presentation Slide (PDF)

Trends in Malaysia's Future of Work

30 September 2020
Presentation by: Calvin Cheng with Harris Zainul Date: 30 September 2020 Presented at: Network of ASEAN-China Think Tanks (NACT) working group discussion on "Future of Labour in ASEAN and China: Challenges and Responses". Download Presentation Slide (PDF)

Will PENJANA Revive The Economy?

05 June 2020
Produced by: Hezril Asyraaf Presented by: Lee Chwi Lynn We take a first look at the RM35 billion worth Penjana economic recovery plan, and discuss if it has what it takes to address the economic challenges brought by Covid-19. BFM 89.9 - https://www.bfm.my/podcast/evening-edition/evening-edition/will-penjana-revive-the-economy   

We’re already in a global recession: here's what we can do

18 May 2020
Download as PDF For those still unsure, let’s be clear: we are currently already knee-deep in a global recession. All around the world, lockdown measures, disruptions in global supply chains, and a pervasive sense of uncertainty have stifled the global economy and destroyed global trade.  In fact, Bloomberg Economics’ global GDP tracker suggests that the…

Malaysia’s slick politics of oil

10 May 2020
The deal announced last week between the state of Sarawak, Petronas and the federal government reflects pragmatic choices on all sides – as Sarawak accepted the legitimacy of the 1974 Petroleum Development Act (PDA) and agreed to a sizeable payment of RM2 billion for the payment of state sales tax on petroleum products. Both Sarawak Chief Minister…

On the Unemployed Frontline: Malaysia’s Youth and Covid-19

18 April 2020
Article by Bridget Welsh and Calvin Cheng first appeared on MalaysiaKini on 18 April 2020  Download as PDF While we rightly think of vulnerable communities as the poor, there is another form of insecurity being shaped during Covid-19: the young people who are on the frontline of the economic effects of this deepening crisis. Across…

Economics of a Global Pandemic: Malaysian impacts and responses

10 April 2020
Presentation by Calvin Cheng Date 10 April 2020 Venue REFSA webinar These slides were presented at a REFSA webinar titled “Flattening the Recession Curve: Saving SMEs and Preserving Jobs” on 10 April 2020. The presentation leverages on latest DOSM survey data to assess the impacts of the COVID19 crisis on Malaysian businesses and workers, and…

The economics of a coronavirus pandemic

05 April 2020
The outbreak of COVID-19 in addition to movement control measures will have a devastating impact on the Malaysian economy. A large, decisive, two-stage economic policy response can help to safeguard Malaysian livelihoods. The new SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the disease COVID-19, first arrived on Malaysian shores on 25 January 2020. A month later in February,…

Making the invisible visible: Faces of poverty in Malaysia

05 April 2020
Article by Bridget Welsh and Calvin Cheng first appeared on MalaysiaKini on 4 April 2020 Download as PDF COMMENT | For many, the movement control order (MCO) is one full of stark choices, even life and death as people go hungry, being evicted and physically in pain. Let’s start with their stories. Please meet the following…

Evaluating the BPN/BSH cash transfers in the ​Prihatin​ stimulus package

02 April 2020
Download as PDF The PN administration announced the Prihatin economic stimulus package (Pakej Ransangan Ekonomi Prihatin Raykat) on 28 March 2020, exactly one month after the first stimulus package was announced in February. Combined with the previous stimulus, the total Prihatin package is worth RM250 billion. Out of the total RM250 billion package, an estimated…

COVID-19 in Malaysia: Economic Impacts & Fiscal Responses

26 March 2020
Views expressed in this article is the opinion of the author, and does not necessarily reflect the view of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia and the other individuals/organisations cited Updated 26/03/2020 Download as PDF Key takeaways This pandemic will have devastating effects on the Malaysian economy from both external factors (global…

Trump’s trade deal poses new dangers to Southeast Asia

17 February 2020
After two years of alternating between tense escalation and fleeting periods of calm, the United States and China reached a preliminary phase one trade deal in December 2019. Government spokespersons in both countries promptly cheered the signing of the agreement — but observers around the world remain a little more circumspect. The primary achievement of the phase…

THE MALAYSIAN ECONOMY: ONE DECADE IN REVIEW

06 February 2020

The Malaysian Economy: One Decade in Review

05 February 2020
Download Infographic The Malaysian Economy: One Decade in Review How the Malaysian economy has changed over the last decade in 11 charts Photo: Image by Walkerssk from Pixabay Graphic design by Ridzwuan Rosli As we enter February 2020, it is perhaps a good time to pause and take stock: how have the structure and nature of the Malaysian…

Trading Troubles: The US-China trade tensions and its impacts on Malaysia and the region

16 January 2020
Trade wars can have widespread negative impacts on the global economy, weighing down on global growth and investment, while increasing uncertainty and market volatility. How will Malaysia and her regional peers fare in the ongoing US-China trade conflict? Far from being a month of quiet introspection, December 2019 has instead proven to be a maelstrom…

Old troubles in the new decade

14 January 2020
A version of article was first published in the New Straits Times on 14 January 2019 under the title “Many Hurdles Amid Great Growth”   BY many measures, the Malaysian economy has made tremendous strides over the last ten years. Real GDP is estimated to be 1.7 times larger now compared to at the start…

Youth Unemployment in Malaysia & the Region

10 January 2020
This article was first published in the Japan Economic Foundation (JEF) Japan SPOTLIGHT January/February 2020 Issue. Full Issue: https://www.jef.or.jp/jspotlight/latestissue/ Article Link: https://www.jef.or.jp/journal/pdf/229th_Special_Article.pdf   Context In recent decades, world governments have been increasingly recognizing that high levels of youth unemployment can have dire and wide-ranging impacts on global economic development. A large body of evidence suggests that being unemployed…

Going beyond the ballot box

18 December 2019
BY most measures, democracy is thriving in Malaysia. Nonetheless, triumphs in voter turnout and youth suffrage notwithstanding, it is important to remember that democratic participation does not end at the ballot box once every four or five years. It goes beyond that, and it needs to be emphasised that everyone has a day-to-day stake in…

The US-China trade conflict: Overview, impacts, and responses

17 December 2019
Presentation by Calvin Cheng Date 17 December 2019 Venue Conference Room, ISIS Malaysia   This presentation was presented as part of the ISIS Malaysia-CASS Roundtable on Malaysia-China relations on 16 December 2019 at the Institute of Strategic & International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. The presentation provides an overview of the recent macro conditions…

BFM PODCAST: RCEP Goes Ahead without India

06 November 2019
Presented by: Lyn Mak, Julian Ng, Wong Shou Ning India finally got off the fence to firmly in the No side for RCEP. Calvin Cheng, Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia thinks this is still OK because the grouping still has a sizable GDP and the door remains open to India.…

BFM PODCAST: THE SOCIAL RETURN OF SUBSIDIES

13 October 2019
Presented by: Lyn Mak, Wong Shou Ning A number of new initiatives were proposed under Budget 2020, including an expansion of the Bantuan Sara Hidup programme and details of a new fuel subsidy. For a dive into this, we speak to Calvin Cheng about the long-term effect of subsidies, and how we wean ourselves off them. BFM 89.9 - https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/morning-brief/the-social-return-of-subsidies…

BFM PODCAST: TRADE WAR GAINERS AND LOSERS IN MALAYSIA

08 October 2019
Produced by: Noelle Lim Presented by: Noelle Lim Calvin Cheng, Researcher at the Economics, Trade and Regional Integration division of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), examines the impact of the US-China trade war on Malaysia and whether it’s fair to compare Malaysia and Vietnams’ economies. Global supply chains have changed and we should instead…

The US-China trade conflict and its potential impacts on Malaysia: Have we benefited from shifts in US import demand?

04 October 2019
Presentation by Calvin Cheng Date 4 October 2019 Time 3:00pm Venue Conference Room, ISIS Malaysia   This presentation will update and expand upon material from a recent ISIS Malaysia policy brief titled "The US-China trade war: has Malaysia benefited from shifts in US import demand?". The first part of this presentation will explore major events…

Economic growth stifled

03 October 2019
IT has been more than two years since the United States first launched investigations into China’s trade and intellectual property. Since then, four different rounds of US tariffs have been slapped on Chinese goods, with a fifth round due to come into effect on Oct 15. By the time this fifth round of tariffs is…

The US-China Trade War: Is Malaysia benefiting from “diversions” in US import demand?

30 September 2019
On 6 July 2018, the Trump administration imposed thefirst1 round of tariffs (List 1) on US$34 billion worth of Chinese imports amid allegations of China’s unfair trade practices related to intellectual property (IP). Subsequently, over the course of 2018, two more rounds of US tariffs were applied—on US$16 billion worth of Chinese goods (List 2)…

Belt and Road Initiative: Perspectives from Malaysia

03 September 2019
"Belt and Road Initiative: Perspectives from Malaysia Presented at the 5th Workshop for Asia Pacific Young Scholars, 3rd September 2019 at the China Institute of International Studies in Beijing, China." Download Presentation Slide (PDF)

Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH)

29 August 2019
Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH), the national cash transfer program formerly known as BR1M, has undergone many changes since its introduction in 2012. In 2018, it was changed yet again, with a new benefit structure that took into account variations in household size. Its proponents argue that cash transfer programs have beneficial impacts on low-income household–while…

Is Malaysia benefitting from the US–China trade war?

14 August 2019
It has been almost a year since the first round of US tariffs were imposed on US$34 billion worth of Chinese imports. Since then, the United States has imposed two additional rounds of tariffs on China, currently covering a total of US$250 billion worth of Chinese goods. China retaliated by levying its own tariffs on…

Debt & Despair

13 May 2019
Economists were quick to point out that actual government debt stood at merely RM687 billion in 2017 — only a bit more than half of the widely-reported RM1 trillion gure. The remainder actually consists of non-debt contingent liabilities, such as government debt guarantees as well as committed future payments for Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) projects. But many…

Not the Last Samurai

24 March 2019
EARLIER this month, the Finance Ministry announced that the government had successfully priced 200 billion yen (RM7.3 billion) worth of Samurai bonds at a coupon rate of 0.53 per cent. These bonds will be fully guaranteed by the state-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) at an extra cost of 0.1 per cent, and are…
Malaysia needs to prioritise

Deflation in Malaysia: What does it mean for the Malaysian economy?

07 March 2019
Last week, Consumer Price Index (CPI) data indicated that consumer inflation was -0.7 percent lower in January compared to a year ago. We’ve entered deflation territory; the first time this has happened since the 2009 Global Financial Crisis. Of course, this wasn’t entirely an unexpected event—median Bloomberg consensus estimates got pretty close, forecasting a -0.4…

Outlook for the Global Economy in the Next Two Years

17 December 2018
Paper presented by Firdaos Rosli and Calvin Cheng Download PDF

Strategies for Enhancing the Japan-ASEAN Economic Partnership

27 November 2018
Paper presented by Dato’ Steven CM Wong at 35th Anniversary Conference of the Malaysian Association for American Studies (MAAS) Download PDF

Growing risks to the Asean economy

17 November 2018
IN 1997, the devaluation of the Thai baht marked the start of a crisis that decimated many Asian economies. By the end of 1998, Asean-5’s (Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines) gross domestic product was US$230 billion lower, setting the Asean economy back to 1992 levels. Today, it has been more than 20 years…

Making BR1M Work

13 September 2018
WHILE the Pakatan Harapan government has promised to continue the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) unconditional cash transfer programme for at least another year, its future seems highly uncertain. Recent media statements from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as well as Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali indicate that the government intends to gradually…
Consumption taxation will eventually return

Consumption Taxation Will Eventually Return

23 May 2018
Tax (GST) would be zero-rated effective June 1, partially fulfilling a promise made by the new administration on the campaign trail. While GST has yet to be fully abolished — it is currently merely zero-rated — the reality is that the future will necessitate a steady and sustainable source of revenue. As such, even if…

Cash programmes and poverty alleviation

19 December 2017
MANY weapons have been wielded in the war against poverty. In ancient Rome, the first ever documented social assistance programme, or alimenta in Latin, provided food and subsidised education for orphans and poor children. In modern times, more novel initiatives such as the microfinance movement pioneered by Muhammad Yunus in the 1980s, and the subsequent…

Don’t Expect 2018 Budget to be Panacea to All of Nation’s Problems

26 October 2017
The 2018 Budget, set to be tabled in Parliament by Prime Minister Najib Razak on Oct 27 (Friday), will be the last before Parliament is dissolved for the 14th general election. The budget will attempt to combine fiscal responsibility — consistent with the federal government’s commitment to narrow the budget deficit — together with the…