The new economic model that Mahathir has just announced may well be our last reasonable chance to move strongly ahead, says Ramon Navaratnam.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave a historic and surprise pleasant present to all Malaysians in a special address to the people on the first anniversary of the Pakatan Harapan government’s rule in Malaysia yesterday.
After nearly 50 years of Barisan Nasional government implementation of the New Economic Policy (NEP), the announcement of the new economic model of “shared prosperity”. This model provides a radical breakthrough for fundamentally new socio-economic policies for the next 10 years – or for two socio-economic five-year plans – until 2030.
The PM said in his special address that “the target of this shared prosperity is to create descent standards of living for all Malaysians”. He also gravely warned us all that Malaysia could become a failed state, if the Pakatan Harapan coalition did not work together.
Indeed, his stern advice could well apply to all Malaysians: his proposed new economic model will have to be strongly supported and actually embraced by all Malaysians for it to work well for the long-term benefit of all Malaysians by all Malaysians.
He rightly implied that our country’s future will depend on the degree of success in our acceptance and implementation of this new economic model. It will hopefully, as he pointed out, enable us all to experience sustainable and equitable growth at every level of society – regardless of race, class, and location.
This is surely a breath of fresh air, after so many years of distortion in the interpretation and implementation of the NEP by many Little Napoleons, from the highest to the lowest levels of the previous administration for many years.
New hope from Pakatan Harapan government.
The new economic model of shared prosperity therefore gives us all new hope.
It is based on three objectives.
- Tackling income and wealth disparity
- Creating a progressive economy
- Emerging as a leading economy in Asia
We almost all agree that here is no point in raising economic growth alone, without the people sharing more of this growth in wealth.
Where is the hope for our future, if despite our God-given resources, we find that even some of our undergraduates go hungry, many of our people struggle to live from hand to mouth, and children suffer from malnutrition.
What about the serious lack of housing, the inadequate healthcare and transport facilities, amongst other insufficient basic amenities as well as the shocking shortfalls in our sustainable development goals? But how do we explore the solutions?
The solutions to achieving the objectives of the new model of sharing wealth must inter among other ways be considered as follows:
- Raising new wealth taxes
- Increasing expenditures to provide more for the welfare of the poor
- Enhancing our training and technology levels to raise productivity
- Providing better salaries and wages to our own people
- Focusing more on meritocracy and competition to better manage the excessive brain drain
- Treating all Malaysians equitably regardless of race and religion
- Protecting our environment and especially upholding 17 UN sustainable goals
Public support is vital
Public support is crucial for preventing us from getting into the mode of a failed state. We have to prepare for acceptance of the new model and pray for its success in the next 10 years and beyond.
We must all take this acceptance as a real challenge to make this model work for the benefit of all Malaysians – as this may well be our last reasonable chance to move strongly ahead.
Thus we wish that this critical new economic model will be fully and widely discussed at all levels of our society. Our people must be briefed and consulted throughout the country and especially in the rural areas and small towns to win their whole-hearted support for the new model.
As the prime minister concluded his historic speech yesterday on the new economic model for shared wealth, he said, “A great plan will not mean anything if it is not implemented correctly or monitored for its outcome.”
So let us all, as loyal and patriotic Malaysians, give our full support to realise the aspirations of the new economic model for shared wealth – for all Malaysians.