For any economic model to succeed, there must be meritocracy, fair competition, proper use of resources, adequate training (which must be of certain high standard) of its populace, good planning and execution of govenrment policies, transparency and accountability… There must also be a social safe netting in place to help the poorer sections of the people, regardless of race.
I have stated many times in this blog that the only way for the country to progress is to adopt an economic model that has all the characteristics of what is mentioned above.
Today, PM unveiled a New Economic Model very similar to the economic model that was mentioned above.
The three principles of this model are:
1. aiming to be a high income nation by 2020, with per capita income rising from US7000 to US 15000.
These 3 principles, if can be implemented fairly, would be good for the country. There are however a few nagging questions in my mind:
1. To achieve US 15000 per capita, we need a growth rate of slightly more than 7% per annum. It will not be an easy task, looking at the economy from 1997 till now. Having said that, even if we can achieve a per capita income of US 12000 , it would be an achievement in my mind, since to do that we need a consistent 6% growth, which is not easy to achieve, so the next question is:
2. Do we have enough skilled manpower and human resources to do so? are we innovative enough? or productive enough?
3. Looking at out school system and the products of our tertiary education at the moment, we need to have a major overhaul of the whole education system to produce thinking and innovative skill work force, and that itself will takes years to be transform.
4. As the PM himself has said, we need a blueprint for this model to succeed. A lot will depend on the blue print that will be drawn up later.
5. How will this blueprint be translated to action? This depends mainly on the civil service, and with the ascendancy of the right wing politics that is in direct resistance to this New Economic Model, will the civil service give full cooperation and will the implementation be skewed again, like the NEP before?
6. The affirmative action in this NEM will be based on the following principles, according to the PM:
– it must be market friendly,
– it must be merit based,
– it must be transparent and
– it must be needs based.
I welcome these principles which in fact have always been what the civil society is pushing for. But with the right wing resistance within the party , how is this going to be put into practiced is a big question mark.
On the whole , what is promulgated should be welcomed if it can be translated into a real economic policy that transcends racial consideration. Whether this can be achieved remains to be seen.
Even the NEP, when it was first being introduced in the 70s, was supposed to be good and its aim of eradication of poverty irrespective of race was noble; but somewhere along the way, it was hijacked to benefits certain cronies and rent seekers, and resulted in a culture of patronage and corruption. Will history repeat itself? For the sake of Malaysia’s future, I really hope not!
FOr the full text of the report, click here: The New Economic Model