The vision must also address inequality, especially in Sabah and Sarawak and in terms of stratum — cities, urban areas, rural areas, interior and islands
by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 (SPV 2030) needs to prioritise sustainable economic development, which is currently not articulated as a central imperative.
ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute’s Malaysia Studies Programme senior fellow and co-coordinator Dr Lee Hwok Aun said although the term sustainability will eventually find its way into the policy document, the current times are already stressing the environment and society.
“People are demanding for sustainability goals and meaningful, earnest and effective policies to be placed at the centre of the next decade’s development roadmap,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).
It was reported on Sept 29 that the Shared Prosperity Action Council will be set up to oversee the implementation of the SPV 2030.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has said amendments and enhancements were being made before the policy kickstarts next year.
On the SPV’s second objective, which is to reduce inequality between income classes, ethnic groups, regions and the supply chain, Lee would like to see a more fundamental reset and a balance among contending interests.
Lee recommended integrating decent living and fair distribution as distinct and mutually dependent policy objectives.
“This reset entails policy continuity, expansion and reform that are specific to safeguarding equality and basic needs.
“Need-based and pro-poor assistance is warranted to ensure that all Malaysians enjoy a decent living, and that income and socioeconomic status must not be an obstacle.”
He pointed out specific areas including basic schooling (primary and secondary levels), public health services, food and nutritional intake, social protection (cash transfers, welfare assistance), shelter (decent living quarters, whether owned or rented), basic income (minimum wage for employees, support for self-employed), and legal protections in employment (including equal pay for work of equal value).
Lee also suggested increasing participation and upward mobility for designated population groups, especially the Bumiputeras, Indians and Orang Asli.
“These programmes, targeting beneficiaries principally based on identity, not socioeconomic status, include tertiary and higher education, and diversity in high-level occupations.
“This is especially for participation in operating and owning business, for example small and medium enterprises, and ownership of wealth and property.”
Ultimately, this set of policies must build capability, competitiveness and confidence of the Bumiputeras and other beneficiaries, he concluded.
Meanwhile, Universiti Putra Malaysia political scientist Prof Dr Jayum Anak Jawan echoed similar concerns and said the government must show the way and reform the bureaucracy.
He suggested a multi-ethnic character in federal bureaucracy and agencies to provide checks and balances, which are needed in a multi-ethnic society.
“I have full confidence that the policies and programmes that will emerge from this town hall by Institut Masa Depan Malaysia will be good, comprehensive and all-inclusive.
“But the main challenge is not in policymaking, but in policy implementation.”
Lee said the government has been making good policies, but implementers and the bureaucrats more often than not either do not understand what the government wants, refuse to understand or have their own agenda, and therefore deviate from delivering policies and programmes as intended.
Academy of Sciences Malaysia fellow Dr Madeline Berma said SPV 2030 must address inequality, especially in Sabah and Sarawak and in terms of stratum (cities, urban areas, rural areas, interior and islands).
She said a few economic sectors need attention too, for example, the agriculture and non-agriculture sectors, and plantations and smallholders.
“Other aspects that need to be reviewed are youth and graduate unemployment, also the ‘new’ poor due to changes in the poverty line,” she told TMR.
SPV 2030, which was launched in October 2019, is an effort to ensure Malaysia develops sustainably with a fair distribution of economy and equitable growth at all levels of incomes, ethnics, regions and supply chains by 2030.