KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia may become a high-income economy as early as the first quarter of next year.
This will be almost two years ahead of the target date for achieving high-income status.
However, for this to happen, more focus needs to be placed on income generating sectors, according to the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER).
The Edge quoted MIER’s deputy director Dr Ahmad Fauzi Puasa as saying: “Based on data gathered by MIER, we have found that we can achieve a high income economy by the first quarter of 2018. Previously we had predicted the country can achieve it by 2019, so this is now earlier.”
Ahmad said this at MIER’s National Economic Outlook Conference yesterday.
The World Bank defines a high-income economy as one with annual gross national income (GNI) per capita of at least US$12,476. Malaysia’s GNI for 2016 stood at US$10,722.
Ahmad said focus should be placed on sectors – including services and production line – that would generate sustainable income.
“A good example is the palm oil industry, of which the down line is vast. They don’t just produce cooking oil products, they now produce pharmaceutical ones too,” he was quoted as saying.
He noted, however, that there remained disparity among states in the country.
“Regional policy objectives should also be relooked to see how government can help individual states’ gross domestic product per capita rise to support the high income goal,” The Edge quoted him as saying.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia had adjusted its policies to ensure it did not lose its competitive edge and be overtaken by other countries.
“We cannot, and must not, allow that. We knew that if we are to achieve our goal of becoming a high-income status nation by 2020, we had to make changes,” the media quoted him as saying.
Last month, the Malaysian Institute of Accountants said the government’s numerous programmes and incentives focused on the development of micro entrepreneurs would spur the country towards achieving high-income status.