Blueprint needed to support economic reforms, says economist

Bank Islam Malaysia’s chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid says a blueprint is needed to identify the areas where reforms are being carried out. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: A blueprint or roadmap is needed to guide stakeholders on measures being taken to support Malaysia’s economic reforms, an economist said.

Bank Islam Malaysia’s chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the government needs to clearly identify the objectives and targets of the reform agenda.

“The government has indicated that growth strategy has to be inclusive and it remains committed to achieving a developed nation status at some point.

“So, the blueprint or roadmap needs to identify the areas where reforms are being carried out and covers such matters as how many skilled jobs will be created and income targets,’’ he told Bernama.

Afzanizam said such a blueprint was also crucial to support the government’s focus on boosting income and solving the issue of wealth inequality.

“There also should be some deliberations on the Gini coefficient targets, or wealth sharing, among the B40 and M40,” he said, referring to the Bottom 40 and Medium 40 income groups.

The Gini coefficient is a gauge of economic inequality.

Afzanizam said it was also critical to build digital capacity, especially in areas relating to the 5G network, as the government was focusing on the digital economy, high-tech and high-wage manufacturing and the services sector to drive economic growth.

“This is to ensure the data speed is up to the mark and allows the digital economy to operate effectively and efficiently,” he said.

He said Malaysian consumers had reacted positively to digital adoption as evidenced from the high penetration rates for smartphones.

“This has led to the emergence of e-commerce, which is prevalent even among the B40 income group,” he said.