Corruption, inequality may hamper M’sia’s plan to become high-income nation

MALAYSIA needs to address several key issues if it ever wants to join the ranks of other high-income nations of the world.

“Although Malaysia hit a setback due to COVID-19, it is still poised to become a high-income nation within five years, albeit in a slower pace.

“Among the issues are compared to other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations, Malaysia collects lesser in taxes, spends little on social protection and performs relatively poor in terms of environmental management and curbing corruption.

“Much of these fault lines became exposed during the pandemic,” the World Bank pointed out in its latest report entitled Aiming High: Navigating the Next Stage of Malaysia’s Development.

The report was launched today in a virtual media conference participated by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

The report also highlighted that despite significant economic growth, many Malaysians – especially the middle class – are feeling that their needs are not being met with the economy not creating enough well-paying and high-quality jobs.

Old policies, institutions need revamp

“Many feel that the economic benefits have not been equitably shared, with skyrocketing cost of living outstripping income especially in urban areas, where three-fourths of the population live,” noted the report.

On that note, the World Bank reminded Malaysia that policies and institutions which helped transition Malaysia from low income to middle income nation must be reformed to meet present and future challenges.

“As Malaysia makes a transition, it needs to depend on knowledge-intensive and productivity-driven growth, closer to technological frontier by placing greater emphasis on achieving an inclusive and sustainable development,” it opined.

Therefore, the World Bank urged Malaysian leaders to embark on measures to revitalise long-term growth, boost competitiveness, create jobs, modernise institutions, promote inclusion and finance shared prosperity policies.

“This will help Malaysia fulfill its potential to transition successfully to become a high-income and developed nation, thus enjoying a sustainable and equitable growth,” it remarked. – March 16, 2021.


Photo credit: Getty Images

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