THE recent announcement by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the new economic model based on “shared prosperity” is much welcomed and a refreshing change. This new economic model, if implemented well and with fairness and justice, will give hope to Malaysians who all aspire for a better shared future. In fact, this shared prosperity model can be the new common vision for Malaysia beyond Vision 2020.
To achieve this vision of shared prosperity, I believe the following key factors must be emphasised and given priority:
1. Growth orientation: To create shared prosperity, economic growth needs to be given greater impetus. The growth momentum must be given a greater push. With faster economic growth, more wealth and prosperity will be created. Impediments to business should be removed. Both the public and private sectors need to work closer together to accelerate growth. A growing economy will also create a feel-good factor as the effects of economic growth trickle down.
2. Sustainable: The new economic model must emphasise economic and environmental sustainability so that future generations inherit a Malaysia that is green and clean. The new economic model of shared prosperity must embrace the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide a road map to sustainable development.
3. Inclusive: The new economic model must be inclusive and prioritise the poor and low-income
families. Inclusive development will ensure that no one is left behind. We need to reduce income inequalities and pursue affirmative action, which is needs-based, to benefit the poor and disadvantaged of all races and from all regions.
4. Technology-driven: The shared prosperity growth model must also be technology-driven. Innovation and technology will drive future growth as greater emphasis will be given to new technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, big data, virtual reality and the Internet of things. Focus on technology will give us a future-oriented economy.
5. Employment creation: The shared prosperity economic model would also prioritise job creation. Creating jobs of the future is a challenge. We need to anticipate what jobs will be needed in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time and to develop the skills and competencies to equip our youths for the jobs of the future. We need to also look at re-skilling present workers so that they can be prepared for the jobs of the future.
6. Entrepreneurship: An economy based on shared prosperity must prepare our future generations to be successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship skills should be taught in schools and universities. Entrepreneurial training should also be provided to young workers. Our small and medium enterprises can also thrive with a stronger focus on entrepreneurship.
7. Boost rural income: More must be done to address and increase rural income. This will also help mitigate rural-urban migration. Shared prosperity must not only be enjoyed by urban Malaysians but also by the rural communities.
8. Environment-friendly: Shared prosperity must not be at the expense of our environment. We need policies to protect our environment and also safeguard our common future.
9. Structural reforms: Moving forward, structural reforms are also needed to institutionalise the shared prosperity concept. Structural reforms need to include foreign labour, size of the civil service, and the size of GLCs,
reducing the role of government in business and strengthening our key institutions. Structural reforms are also needed to address the 3Ds – debt, development divide and digitalisation.
10. Ethical leadership: Malaysians can only truly enjoy the benefits of shared prosperity if ethical leadership is institutionalised in our public and corporate governance. Ethics and integrity must be ingrained into our politicians, civil servants and in our businesses.
I am confident that if we place priority on these 10 key success factors, we will be able to help achieve the Prime Minister’s vision of a shared prosperity.
We need to build not only a new but also a better Malaysia which is united, harmonious, inclusive and prosperous. Growing the economy and adopting a human rights-based approach to development will ensure our common future.
Congratulations to Dr Mahathir and Pakatan Harapan for a successful first year in office.
TAN SRI MICHAEL YEOH
Kingsley Strategic Institute (KSI)