KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 — Malaysia’s ambition to become a high-income nation by 2020, based on the implementation of the country’s long-term strategy, is achievable, said former Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Pascal Lamy.
He said this was also premised on policy-based politics, economics, education and social system that coped with development challenges.
“Trade also plays an important part in growing the economy. The more you specialise in what you do better than others, the more you (can) grow your economy.
“(The country needs) to focus on trade in the region and new markets such as the European market, which is the reason why the free trade agreement with the European Union has been on the agenda for some time,” he told a media briefing today after delivering a talk of the “Importance of Global Trade in the Age of Rising Protectionism” here today.
Lamy said Malaysia needed to upskill the labour force through education to grow the economy at a faster pace.
On addressing inequality, he said the government needed to address progressively a large social safety net and reduce the inherent social insecurity.
“Addressing inequality is a complex issue that sometimes need a large chunk of public resources,” he said.
Hence, according to Lamy, economic development must focus on expanding the country’s welfare system.
However, he noted that there should not be a welfare system which was similar to other countries which have got a higher tax bracket and were able to implement a better welfare system.
He also pointed out that a growing middle class was the best bet against corruption in the medium to long term.
“Growing the part of population that pays taxes is the best way to fight against corruption,” he said adding the move was proven to be effective, in addition to proper regulation, more transparency and more rules on conflict of interest between business and politics,” he added. — Bernama