Malaysia to make the push to join ranks of developed economies in 2020

Govt is rebuilding public trust and delivering a corrupt-free administration via the NACP, says finance minister

by SHAZNI ONG/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

MALAYSIA is among the few economies in the world that experienced a faster GDP growth in the second quarter relative to the previous one, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (picture) said.

“Our institutional reforms are the bedrock of our economic resilience. Thanks to Malaysia’s strong performance in the first half of 2019, the GDP is expected to be at 4.7% this year and 4.8% in 2020.

“If 2018 and 2019 were the years we focused on cleaning up the government, 2020 is the year we go out and make the push to join the ranks of the developed economies.

“Unfortunately, our push for Vision 2020 was derailed by previous excesses,” he said at the International Directors Summit 2019 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He added that old scandals had put Malaysia in the global spotlight for the wrong reasons and eroded much of the trust in the government’s ability to safeguard the interest of investors, businesses and the people.

Lim said the government is rebuilding public trust and delivering a corrupt-free administration via the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP), among others.

“The World Bank last week released the latest 2019 Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) which measures institutional quality of over 200 countries.

“Malaysia is among the most improved countries in the WGI, especially in the areas of accountability, government effectiveness, rule of law and anti-corruption,” he added.

Meanwhile, he said the female labour force participation rate is low at 55% due to various factors, and below the government’s target of 60%.

“The World Bank in its recent report stated that our income per capita could increase by 26% if we eliminate all the barriers the women face in the labour market.

“Although yet to meet the 60% goal, we are closing in on our target to have at least 30% women on the board of directors of the top 100 listed companies in Malaysia.

“According to the Securities Commission Malaysia, women representation increased to 23.7% in 2018 from 16.6% in 2016,” Lim said.

On another note, the finance minister said the mechanism of petrol subsidy for the middle 40% (M40) income group is expected to be announced in March next year.

“Let us study the matter and when the mechanism is ready, we will make an announcement,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the summit.

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution had earlier revealed that the government would include the M40 group in the Petroleum Subsidy Programme (PSP) as opposed to only recipients of the Cost of Living Aid (BSH) as announced previously.

The aid will be enjoyed by those in the M40 category who own no more than two cars and two motorcycles.

He said the vehicles owned must comply with the prescribed criteria, namely cars of 1,600cc and below, or cars above 1,600cc which are 10 years old and above, and/or motorcycles 150cc and below, or motorcycles over 150cc which are seven years old and above.

“Following the initial announcement of the PSP, the ministry received a lot of feedback, especially on the call to include the M40 group as recipients of petrol subsidies,” he said in a statement.

He said for BSH recipients, the eligibility criteria would remain the same, which was owning a maximum of two cars and two motorcycles within the specified engine capacity range.

Prior to that, Saifuddin said the government would gather the necessary data to determine the number of people in the M40 group eligible for the targeted PSP as announced in the 2020 budget last Friday.