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Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 to replace NEM: Masa CEO

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 1): The Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (WKB 2030) will be the new economic and development policy to replace the current New Economic Model (NEM), which is deemed as having put the country in the wrong direction.

Institut Masa Depan Malaysia (Masa) board member and acting chief executive officer Mohd Nizam Mahshar said the NEM did not seem to achieve its goals as problems like income and wealth gap between classes, races and territories, as well as extreme disparities in the supply chain, remained unresolved in the country.

It also failed to achieve the goals that were meant to be achieved -- poverty eradication and economic restructuring.

“That has created separation, and whatever was meant to be achieved in the NEM seemingly is now diverted, and it is moving in the wrong direction,” he told Bernama in a recent interview.

According to Mohd Nizam, under the NEM, the country was segmented by racial background, which created insecurity among the people.

“And the gap was not only in the context of income, but also professions, jobs, and even within small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” he said.

Mohd Nizam, who is also a member of the Economic Action Council (EAC) under the Prime Minister’s Office, also lamented that the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) or income growth target set under Barisan Nasional's (BN) NEM also did not seem to have put Malaysia in the right direction.

"Instead, they have created problems such as concentrated development and turned Malaysia into a low-income economy that relies heavily on the foreign labour force,”  he said.

The ETP and NEM were introduced in September and March 2010 respectively under then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s administration, with the aim of transforming Malaysia into a high-income nation by raising the gross national income per capita to US$15,000 by 2020 from US$7,059 in 2009.

Mohd Nizam said WKB 2030 is the new economic and development policy for the country, noting it continues the previous plans under Vision 2020 that had moved Malaysia from an agricultural economy towards an industrial-based economy.

“And it will be the new policy as the Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) mentioned earlier that we may not achieve our Vision 2020 target," he said.

Vision 2020, launched in February 1991, was the brainchild of Dr Mahathir, with the ultimate goal of making Malaysia a fully developed country by 2020.

However, Mohd Nizam acknowledged that the previous policies had achieved some goals such as successfully managing the poverty level in the country.

“But we still need to manage the relative poverty problem that we are facing now,” he said.

Asked if Malaysia would keep the delayed target of becoming a high-income nation in 2024 set under the mid-term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP), Mohd Nizam cited Dr Mahathir as saying that the WKB 2030’s target is not about gross domestic product (GDP) growth alone to achieve high-income nation status, but about providing a new structure to the economy and distributing wealth among the people.

“So, the target and the goal have changed, and we are moving into a new direction, and that (high-income nation target) is no longer the agenda," he added.

Dr Mahathir first introduced WKB 2030 on May 9, 2019 in conjunction with Pakatan Harapan's (PH) first anniversary as the federal government, with the goal of providing a decent standard of living among all Malaysians by increasing the people’s purchasing power, as well as eliminating the income and wealth gap between classes and regions and extreme disparity in the supply chain by 2030.

In his keynote address, Dr Mahathir also said under the new vision, the government would aim for a developed, dynamic and prosperous country, but the development should not be assessed through GDP figures, which do not mean much to the man in the street.

Asked how convincing it is for the people to believe that the new PH-led government would achieve the new goal in just 10 years’ time when the previous government, which ran the country for over 60 years since independence in 1957, is unlikely to achieve Vision 2020 on time, he said that he truly believed that the new government has learned from the previous government's mistakes and has reprioritised the country's economic agenda.

"It is not merely about the leaders, it is about the leadership, the people, industry, businesses and the private sector among others, we need to trust that we have that kind of potential," he said.

As Dr Mahathir had hoped that Malaysians at all levels could scrutinise the shared prosperity concepts and plans before they are included in the 12MP and 13MP (2021-2030) to achieve the goals by 2030, Mohd Nizam believed that within the transition period, the upcoming 2020 Budget would capture most of the elements of the vision to align and gear the plans and policies towards achieving the vision.

"Of course, the challenge is that we do not have full resources, as we still need to pay the (government) debt (of over RM1 trillion), which is one of the biggest problems that we have," he said.

Overall, Mohd Nizam said the whole idea of WKB 2030 is still about growth, but a growth with equal distribution of wealth and opportunities, driven by an outcome-driven government.

"It is very hard for us to achieve parity for everyone to receive an equal distribution of things, as it goes down to the effort of the people, which is, people who work harder will get more.

"But what we want to ensure is that the opportunities and the right intervention are given so that everyone, in the end, will arrive at the same, or at least almost the same destination.

“So that (vision) is about providing an equitable growth for everyone," he said.

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