KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia can only be a developed nation by 2020 when its diversity is taken into account and everyone has a seat at the table, said Finance Minister II Johari Ghani.
He said it would make no sense to have a sustainable economy if it is not inclusive.
“Our policies are focused on allowing all Malaysians to have a seat at the table, especially rural Malaysians, who are at the bottom 40 per cent of the economy.
“Then there is also geographical inclusion. There is the Iskandar project in Johor, Sabah Development Corridor, the Northern Corridor and Eastern Corridor growth centres,” he said during his speech at Khazanah Megatrends 2016 here.
He said a successful economy was about finding the right balance between long-term and short-term goals.
Johari said to some it may be strange, or even silly, to continue doing what the government is doing at the moment with regards to long-term economic development.
“If the global economy can shift so quickly, why should the government create and execute a five-year plan such as the Malaysia Plan?
“Look at the global economy today. Who would have thought about Brexit and oil prices plunging as low as it is today?”
Yet, he said, the government continues to have strategic plans, set in print, on which direction it wants to head.
“We have a true North of sorts. Using long-term plans and models as our true North ensures that we will not lose sight of where we want to go, despite all the short-term distractions we may have.”
He said it would be undoubtedly reckless to forgo long-term considerations, but at the same time it was also reckless to ignore what was happening at the moment.
“It is not easy balancing the two, and over-weighting one over the other without due consideration for either side is irresponsible, too.”
Some of the issues plaguing Malaysians at the moment are the high cost of living after the Goods and Services Tax was implemented in April 2016 and unaffordable housing, which Malaysians have asked the prime minister to look into in his 2017 Budget to be announced next month.