KUALA LUMPUR: The Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV 2030) must move away from race-based policies and focus on a needs-based approach, says an academician.
University of Malaya political economy lecturer Prof Dr Edmund Terence Gomez said SPV 2030 should include policies that address structural issues such as poverty, education and lack of incentives to boost research and development.
He, however, felt that the SPV 2030 was constructed similar to the New Economic Policy (NEP) where more emphasis was given to the Bumiputera agenda.
“Under the NEP, the good thing was it created good schools and they have good teachers. They sent poor kids to good schools and they created a new middle class.
“Are we having a similar structure in the SPV 2030 where we are focusing on potentially really good schools, targeting poor people based on needs?” he told reporters on the sidelines of the 2020 Malaysia Economic and Strategic Outlook Forum here today.
Gomez was one of the panellists in a session on Malaysia’s Economic Challenges and Outlook – Strengthening the Economy: Structural Reforms, Poverty Alleviation and Shared Prosperity.
Other panellists were Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd chief economist Manokaran Mottain, IQI Global chief economist Shan Saeed and Malaysian Economic Association president Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Norma Mansor.
Commenting on common arguments that the NEP only benefited the rich Malays, Gomez said this goes back to the issue of access to opportunity which is only enjoyed by a few and left the Bumiputera among the poorest in the country.
He also stressed on the need to stop formulating policies and politics along racial lines.
“The SPV is constructed in the old way like how they did under the NEP. At that time, maybe that was important but it should no longer be this way,” said Gomez.
Meanwhile, Norma said business opportunities were another concern for the government to rectify.
“Uncertainty is also linked to the political direction or the leadership situation that we are facing. I think businesses are looking into what will happen with the leadership change.
“My response to that is, even with a change in leaders or parties in Malaysia, the policies are always pro-business. So, what is the problem?” she added.
Norma pointed out that businesses placed their concerns on big projects that would affect the economy.
“Big projects will drive small projects and create small business opportunities. This is where people are looking for direction. The faster we sort out the leadership issue, the faster the certainty will come in among the business communities,” she added.
The one-day forum was jointly organised by the Kingsley Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific and the Economic Club of Kuala Lumpur. – Jan 21, 2020, Bernama