KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — Progressive think tank Research for Social Advancement (Refsa) has called on the government to undertake a mission-oriented industrial policy aimed at creating new jobs in the medium-to-long run.
This is in response to the economic report released by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) which revealed that the nation’s gross domestic product had contracted 17 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 and the unemployment rate at 4.9 per cent in June — equivalent to 773,200 unemployed persons.
In a statement today, RefsaA said mission-oriented policies take into account the relationship between various bodies in the private sector and the government to achieve a mission that would generate social good, such as ensuring food safety, solving public health crisis, or tackling climate change.
“The government can provide incentives and/or invest directly in target industries to achieve said mission.
“This would create opportunities and demand for various types of skills and manpower while meeting the essential needs of the country, such as the ability for businesses to adapt to the new normal and technological disruptions,” it said.
Instead of “leaving it to the market”, Refsa said it is imperative that the government play an active role in shaping and creating markets for the future economy — acting as a catalyst and priming the market to follow suit in investments, thus creating employment opportunities.
Refsa communications director Iskandar Fareez said Malaysia needs bold socioeconomic policies to kickstart economic recovery and to realign economic priorities towards more sustainable and resilient forms of work.
“We want to ensure a better quality of life for all Malaysians, built upon a more solid economic system that seeks to resolve problems that come from inequality, poor social mobility and inadequate social protection.
“But to save and create jobs in a failing economy, we need the government to act courageously and urgently,” he added. — Bernamar