PETALING JAYA (April 17): With the International Monetary Fund predicting that Asia's economic growth will grind to a halt this year for the first time in six decades amid the Covid-19 pandemic; as people fear losing their jobs and companies fear closures - could this be the worst financial crisis Malaysia has ever seen?

At the Facebook Live Fireside Chat titled - Will the Malaysian property sector survive the mother of all crises?, a panel made up of Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Eddy Chen; Real Estate Housing Developers Association (Rehda) Institute chairman and Malaysian REIT Managers Association chairman Datuk Jeffrey Ng; and Rehda Malaysia president Datuk Soam Heng Choon discussed how the crisis this time around differs from previous ones.  

The event was moderated by EdgeProp Malaysia’s managing director and editor-in-chief ’s Au Foong Yee.

“We don’t know yet [if this is the mother of all crises]. Back then in the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis we thought it was going to be very severe but within two years, there was a rebound.

"To me, this is just another crisis we have to weather through. We could perhaps see a rebound maybe late next year,” said Chen.

Meanwhile, REHDA’s Soam said this is the worst crisis he had ever seen to date.

“For people my age, it can be called the mother of all crises. But for a 30 year old listening to this, there could be a bigger crisis in future – we'll never know. But to me, each crisis was different from the 1990s to now.

"But it will be different this time around given that there is no ongoing work for a period of time and looking at how the exit strategy is derived,” Soam said adding that it will be a while before a light can be seen at the end of the tunnel.

Rehda Institute’s Ng concurred with Soam that this is indeed the mother of all crises as he said that the country has never seen all business and social activities completely shut down due to movement restrictions and lockdowns , not just in Malaysia but on a global scale.

“Nevertheless, the good thing is that the government and the central banks [of each country] are reacting to inject whatever liquidity is there into the market. As a result, there is that compensating stimulus to keep the economy, so to speak, floating.

"But especially during this Movement Control Order period, the experience of seeing literally sharp drops in revenue and sharp drops in cash flows is something I personally have never experienced before. If we can all get through this [with a lot of support from the authorities], it will be quite an experience,” said Ng.

The fireside chat which went live at 2pm on EdgeProp Malaysia’s Facebook page today garnered over 23,000 views.

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For the full report on the virtual Fireside Chat read the April 24, 2020 issue of pullout.

Missed our first Fireside Chat on ‘Undervalued Properties: Opportunities or Risk?’ which was held on April 10? Please click here to view the video.

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