PM: GDP growth benefited capitalists, not workers

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (centre) arrives at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur October 18, 2018. The PM said it was mainly capitalists who profited from the nation’s development in the past decade. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (centre) arrives at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur October 18, 2018. The PM said it was mainly capitalists who profited from the nation’s development in the past decade. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 — For the past decade, it was mainly capitalists who profited from the nation’s development, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The PM said while Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is considered one of the best in the region, only one-third of its total could “benefit” workers.

“There is also a glaring gap between high-skilled workers who get lucrative payments and low-skilled workers who get paid really little. That is why the economic growth is less felt by a majority of the rakyat,” he said during the tabling of the Mid-term Review of the 11th Malaysia Plan at the Dewan Rakyat today.

He also said while the government is actively reviewing development projects as part of its cost-cutting measures, it will not axe those that will boost socio-economic developments.

 “We need to strengthen the government’s financial position. Malpractices at any level will not be tolerated. Other measures include reviewing unsustainable projects and scrapping low-priority projects.

“However, socio-economic development projects that can improve the well-being of the rakyat will continue,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia needs to bridge a 21 per cent revenue gap, based on World Bank’s minimum level of high-income nation, before reaching the middle-income country status.

“In 2017, the World Bank set the minimum level at US$12,056 (RM50,134) and there is a 21 per cent revenue gap that we need to address,” he said.

During the tabling, he revealed that the gross national income (GNI) per capita at current prices had increased by an average of 6.7 per cent, from RM36,119 in 2015 to RM41,093 in 2017.

In terms of purchasing power parity, he said Malaysia’s per capita GNI has reached US$28,650 (RM119,138), as estimated by the World Bank.

“This achievement puts Malaysia in the top 25 percentile of 217 countries,” he said.