Like all other government programs and master plans, of utmost importance is the actual execution.
On Monday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tabled the mid-term review of the 12th Malaysia Plan in Parliament, in which he announced an additional RM15 billion allocation for the five-year development plan to RM415 billion.
The prime minister said the purpose of the supplementary allocation is for increased subsidies to meet the needs of the rakyat and improve the quality of management while at the same time providing funds for sectors that prioritize the well-being of the people.
He said the government strives to eliminate poverty, resolve the issues pertaining to fundamental amenities, and improve the needs of the people, including in education, medical care, clean water supply, roads and other public infrastructure.
The prime minister said the mid-term report would review all the policies, strategies and goals. He also said the government promises to cut down expenses by at last RM90 billion each year between 2023 and 2025, and the savings would be spent on narrowing the existing development gap between urban and rural areas, as well as wealth gap among the people, problems of rising debts, limited fiscal revenue sources and the slowing economic structure transformation.
The RM400 billion set aside for 12MP will be used to finance the country’s national infrastructure and new development projects over a period of five years. During the first two years of 12MP, 34% of the RM400 billion allocation has already been used — RM64.3 billion in 2021 and RM71.6 billion in 2022.
Anwar said the government would adopt more proactive steps in near future to put the country back to the track of growth, to revitalize economic development, accelerate structural reform of the economy, strengthen the country’s competitiveness in strategic sectors and expand the regional economic potential.
Thanks to robust support from the private sector and trade activities, Malaysia managed to register an encouraging 4.2% GDP growth during the first half of the year.
Meanwhile, labor productivity increased by 3.7% annually from 2021 to 2022, unemployment rate was down to 3.5% in the second half of this year, while the July CPI fell to 2.0%, the lowest in two years.
Last year, the country’s per capita GDP rose to RM52,968 from RM42,838 recorded a year earlier.
PM Anwar said the government had so far launched 11 new transportation and logistics projects to ensure the resilience and sustainability of the national infrastructure development.
These projects include Phase 1B packages of the Sabah Pan-Borneo Highway project, Penang LRT, Penang International Airport expansion, reconstruction of Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, and upgrading of East-West Highway between Gerik, Perak and Jeli, Kelantan.
Other development projects include BRT systems and intra-city bus services for Klang Valley and Johor Bahru, upgrading of Senai-Desaru Highway, expansion of North-South Expressway from Yong Peng to Senai, Phase 2 of Sarawak-Sabah Link Road (SSLR) project, upgrading of Cameron Highlands road from Tanah Rata to Kea Farm, among others.
Undeniably, the government’s effort in improving the maintenance of transportation infrastructure, extending the lifespan of public roads, rail assets and air navigation system, and enhancing the existing transportation networks for safer, more reliable and affordable services are bound to benefit the general public tremendously.
It is our wish that PM Anwar will seriously reconsider the KL-Singapore high speed rail project that will not only facilitate travels between the two capital cities, but also will catalyze the development of cities and towns along the route, including Seremban, Melaka, Batu Pahat and Johor Bahru.
The theme for the 12MP mid-term review is “Malaysia Madani: Sustainable, Prosperous and High-Income” with three focus areas and 17 radical shifts.
Indeed, the report is grandiose-sounding, but like all other government programs and master plans, of utmost importance is the actual execution.
If all the plans cannot be fully implemented, there will be no economic transformation to talk about, and the people’s quality of living will go without much improvement.
As such, it is imperative that the government set up a special task force to oversee the implementation of the remaining 12MP to ensure the goals which have been set are achievable.
The focus areas proposed by the Unity Government in the 12MP mid-term review are an extension of the 2021 version of former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
We applaud such an extension of positive strategies straddling two different administrations so that sound policies introduced by the previous administration would not be abandoned due to a change of government.
This is the spirit of sustainability in democratic politics!