MoF calls for economic goals contribution from experts

by NURUL SUHAIDI / pic by TMR FILE

THE Finance Ministry (MoF) is urging academicians and economists to help the nation in achieving the economic goals through refining their roles.

“I would like to draw focus on economics-related professions, which have an ongoing positive influence on the nation’s development policy,” Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture) said in the education forum by UNIRAZAK yesterday.

Emphasising economic leadership, he said such a profession needs to adapt to meet Malaysia’s policy hurdles especially when the current situation poses challenges to conventional economic academia.

“There is the need to relook at the role of economics and academicians in contributing towards and leading the growth of Malaysia by looking at the current economic situations which have been challenged due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

He also noted that the big test at hand for economics is to help meet the challenges that policymakers face today.

“In our role as a policymaker, the government is also facing challenges of entrenched disadvantage. Despite the improvements in inequality over the last 30 years, Malaysia has yet reached the point where we can comfortably say we have effectively addressed the issue,” he said.

In its new direction strategy for bigger enterprises, the government recently introduced Perkukuh, a reform of government linked investment companies and government linked companies, and right now is being addressed in accordance with pre-Budget 2022 consultation with stakeholders.

It said the Perkukuh will bring a more cohesive approach that will create an ecosystem that benefits all stakeholders of the economy.

Additionally, Tengku Zafrul added that the bigger challenge for Malaysia’s economy today is also one of dynamism: the capacity to generate new ideas, innovative business models and production techniques, as well as the ability to diffuse them quickly through the economy.

“We should encourage dynamism through productive entrepreneurship in private markets, and work to remove the destructive entrepreneurship of rent-seeking,” Tengku Zafrul said.

Fundamentally, the economists and academics alike have a role to play, given that rent-seeking is driven by incentives, and some of these incentives are embedded in market design, he added.

One way for academicians could help overcome this main challenge is by not just thinking on theoretical level, but to help test the various policies and measures being formulated.

“Many times, there were gaps between the theoretical and practical approaches causing the policies and measures not achieving their intended goals,” he added.

Meanwhile, the businesses and corporates also have civil responsibility to play by advocating for good general economic policy, rather than specific measures aimed at individual preferment.

“It needs to lay the grounds for a ‘common shared prosperity’ that enables the nation and its people to realise their fullest potential and reap the equal economic benefits,” Tengku Zafrul said.

According to him, economic leadership excellence is critical to ensuring that economic development continues to serve the goal of achieving a fully developed state.

The national Shared Prosperity Vision, which is set to be realised by 2030, provides a roadmap for Malaysia in the economic approach.