KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 — The Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 is the appropriate plan for the current state of Malaysia’s economy, former Bloomberg executive editor Daniel Moss said.
Writing in an opinion piece for the business news outlet, Moss noted that while Vision 2020 had been an ostentatious plan, the new economic blueprint was a “sign of the times”.
“Instead of reaching for grandeur, the focus is more down to earth: income inequality, inclusiveness, technology, an economy less reliant on oil. Implicit is an acceptance that the explosive economic expansion before the 1997-98 crisis is gone forever.
“That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Decades of rapid development widened the divide between Malaysia’s wealthiest and poorest fivefold from 1989 through 2016, according to the government. It was trendy to be a tycoon in the Malaysia of the 1990s,” he wrote.
At its height, the Malaysian economy in the 90s grew at a blistering rate that often broke into the double digits.
Today, GDP growth is still solid but at more modest levels of around 4.5 to 5.5 per cent annually.
While Vision 2020 sought to propel Malaysia towards developed and high-income nation status, the new blueprint still carries much of the ambition but tempered with the aim of ensuring that prosperity is shared across all sections of the community.
Moss noted that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Shared Prosperity Vision was also not aiming to aggressively tackle the issue of pro-Bumiputera affirmative action.
“By focusing on other social issues, though, Mahathir is again staying at the edge of a broader intellectual and political current.
“Leaders across the world are increasingly attuned to pocketbook issues and grievances that threaten support for mainstream politics,” he wrote.
He also said the new vision was implicit acceptance that Malaysia and others in the region must now face a different economic reality, one in which growth must be hard fought.
Dr Mahathir unveiled the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 October 5 to chart the country’s continued growth while closing the income gap over the next decade.
In his speech, the prime minister said the main aim of the vision is to restore Malaysia’s economy and provide a decent living standard to all Malaysians — regardless of their ethnicity, social class and location — by the year 2030.