KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s economy must grow at an annual rate of 8% over the next 10 years for the country to achieve developed-nation status by 2020, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“Anything less will delay our goal of attaining it. For example, an annual growth of 6% means reaching high-income status will be delayed by 10 years to 2030 rather than 2020,” he said.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the country should strive to achieve the target to qualify for the World Bank’s current threshold for high-income economies.
He was making his keynote address at the National Economic Advisory Council’s (NEAC) inaugural meeting here yesterday.
Najib said the World Bank’s current threshold for high-income economies was nearly US$12,000 (RM42,000) and was projected to reach US$17,000 (RM59,500) by 2020.
He said a reinstatement of the country’s 2008 achievements in Gross National Income (GNI) terms showed that Malaysia would rank 85th at nearly US$7,000 ( RM24,500) per capita.
To better reflect the increasingly liberalised world trade, Najib said the World Bank now used GNI rather than Gross Domestic Product to compare countries for analytical purposes.
Using the GNI will be advantageous as it reflected the growth of the capital truly owned by Malaysians without the bias perception generated by foreign investments in the country.
To achieve the status, Najib said Malaysia should not only be well-off but also act and live in a manner that reflected that status.
The Prime Minister said there were important social and quality of life measurements to be factored in when considering the country’s objectives and success.
He said Malaysia’s quest to achieve developed nation status would depend on two criteria.
“The first requires surpassing the threshold to become a higher-income economy and secondly, as an advanced economy, we must attain the International Monetary Fund ranking of a higher human development index score.”
Elaborating later at a press conference, the Prime Minister said the Government was committed to attaining Vision 2020.
“Obviously, we have to re-calibrate what is achievable and sustainable, given the current global economic environment, which is far different from the time when we conceived Vision 2020, experienced the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis and now the global crisis.
“As the regional assumption of global economic environment has changed quite considerably, all plans must now be subjected to review and flexibility because of changing global conditions. But we must go through it to achieve our goals,” Najib added.
The Prime Minister said the advisory council would help the Government formulate plans to transform the nation into a high-income country and achieve the 2020 vision.
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