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Shared prosperity

  • The government's initiative to fairly guide Malaysians towards the vision of shared prosperity should help restore the country's Asian Tiger accolade. Photo courtesy: Bernama

Sin Chew Daily

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad admitted after launching the “Shared Prosperity Vision 2030” last Saturday that inappropriate policies and mismanagement by the previous BN administration were the reasons Malaysia failed to achieve Vision 2020 for a developed country.

As such, he said the PH government came up with SPV 2030 to draw up a completely new strategy to make Malaysia a developed country that would benefit all Malaysians.

He said SPV 2030 is much better than Vision 2020, as everyone in this country can enjoy the prosperity together.

SPV 2030 emphasizes the principle of fair outcome. This nevertheless does not imply equal opportunities for all but is an economic solution, by considering the restrictions arising from differences in economic and environment background of an individual or a group to ensure the success of a plan.

It defines that all Malaysians from different social classes, ethnic backgrounds, etc can gain access to fair, equal and inclusive economic distribution to achieve development sustainability for the country. It stresses the need to look at the issue of income disparity from a broader perspective, unlike in the past when economic gap was often viewed from the perspective of race. The New Economic Policy launched in 1970 and later having its name changed to National Development Policy in 1990, has defined at least 30% bumiputra equity as its ultimate goal.

Reports show that bumi equity has yet to reach this mark today. In fact, bumi equity dropped from 23.4% in 2011 to 16.2% in 2015, while non-bumis were holding 30.7% of stake and foreigners 45.3%. Such an outcome of New Economic Policy has coincided with Tun Mahathir's allegation of “mismanagement by former administration”.

Looking back at the NEP practiced by the previous administration for decades, bumi's share in the country's economic cake was boosted through political distribution in the guise of helping the poor, but this has in a way also lowered the share of non-bumis.

Despite the increase of bumi equity stake over the years, the government has often tied economic resources to political activities without liberalizing economic sources nor actively expanding the market in enlarging the domestic economic cake. Moreover, the government has absorbed huge amounts of foreign investments in order to attract foreign capitals. This coupled with a global slowdown, has not only made it impossible for the country to fulfill the vision of a developed country by 2020, but has also significantly brought down the shares of both bumis and non-bumis.

SPV 2030 strives to ensure fair distribution of economy with equitable growth at all levels of incomes, ethnics, regions and supply chains. This will allay public fears that the government only helps one particular ethnic community, as it has mapped out a new direction for Malaysians irrespective of race to work together towards enlarging the country's economic cake.

Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea were collectively known as the Four Little Dragons in the 1980s. Malaysia was once called an Asian Tiger. Today, the Four Little Dragons are experiencing very different economic destinies, and with China fast rising to the forefront of global economy, it is time for Malaysia to do some serious catching up.

The government's initiative to fairly guide Malaysians towards the vision of shared prosperity should help restore the country's Asian Tiger accolade.

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