KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 — The government aims to restructure and develop the economy to prepare it for global challenges, said Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
He said this meant emphasising new economic capabilities and unlocking new growth areas.
“As we plan for Malaysia’s next stage of economic development, we are cognisant of the global economic uncertainty.
“Nevertheless, we must be armed with the certainty that our nation has developed resilience and extensive know-how, drawing lessons from our political and economic history,” Azmin said in his speech to the Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2019 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
He said the first phase of the economic restructuring would be the 12th Malaysia Plan from 2021 to 2025, with the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 forming the underlying philosophy to drive sustainable and inclusive growth.
The minister recounted Vision 2020 under Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, which began in 1990 with the goal of making Malaysia a developed industrial nation by 2020.
“Within 20 years of implementing Vision 2020, Malaysia has successfully emerged as a newly
industrialised country and since then has led other developing countries in manufacturing and export in the electrical and electronics sector.
“Today this sector has grown into a blend of multinational corporations and national champions, and in 2018 it made up 38 per cent of Malaysia’s total exports. However in the last decade, our economy has become increasingly reliant on commodity, as evidenced by the export contribution of oil and gas growing from only six per cent in 1998 to 15.5 per cent in 2018,” he said.
This has become a source of concern, Azmin said, as the continuous growth of Malaysians’ experience and knowledge was directly related to its economic potential.
“According to Harvard’s Atlas of Economic Complexity, Malaysia is ranked 28th out of 133
countries, having slipped 2 positions in the past 10 years. Therefore, the execution of Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 will be aimed at rectifying this by further growing economic complexity and propelling the nation towards high value-added economic activities.
“While intensifying technological advancement in expanding our services sector, we also need to prepare our existing industries to adapt to tech disruption as well as re-examine supply chains and ensure that the profit pool doesn’t just accrue to the large monopolies,” he said.
With the ambitious plans of pursuing high— growth industries, there is also the need to equip the country’s human capital with the necessary know-how and create talent pools to support these pursuits.
“Currently, 60 per cent of employment is semi-skilled, while only 27 per cent are high-skilled and the remaining 13 per cent are low-skilled. Lower-skilled jobs will continue to suppress average wages, and the challenge is to generate wage growth to improve living standards for the rakyat.
“By placing the prosperity and wellbeing of its people at the forefront of its development policies, Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 will ensure the equitability of outcomes for all Malaysians,” Azmin said.