PETALING JAYA: An Umno vice-president today questioned the ambiguity revolving around the “shared prosperity” model espoused by Putrajaya, noting that until now, the government has not outlined a strategy to distribute the nation’s wealth fairly.
Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the government must go into detail on how it plans to empower Bumiputeras in the context of this concept as initiatives by the previous government to empower the community were aimed at ensuring the nation’s wellbeing.
While he praised the model’s objective to make Malaysia a leading economy in Asia, Khaled lamented the lack of a specific plan to explain how Putrajaya intended to do so.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had on May 9 outlined the “shared prosperity” concept meant to ensure that the country would continue its path of sustainable development in line with the equitable growth of each value chain, class, community and geography.
He said this was to create a sense of harmony and stability among the people by 2030.
Mahathir said the initiative would increase the people’s purchasing power and eliminate the income and wealth gap between classes, regions and extreme disparity in the supply chain.
Khaled, however, questioned how the government would measure “shared prosperity”.
While the prime minister identified factors such as ownership of financial, physical and savings assets as well as supply chain participation, Khaled wondered what the target was and how it could be evaluated.
“Indicators to assess these abstract concepts are very important,” he said.
The former Johor menteri besar also pointed out that the main hurdle in ensuring shared prosperity was excessive income and concentrated wealth among the elite which he said Mahathir was responsible for.
Khaled said that during Mahathir’s first stint as the prime minister, he pushed for a laissez-faire economy, trickle-down economic policies as well as privatisation.
This, he said, led to the emergence of a selected group of affluent Malays and non-Malays.
“I am sure the rakyat would like to know the government’s plan to address this gap,” he said.
Khaled took a swipe at the core policies outlined in the “shared prosperity” concept, saying they were similar to the ones implemented by the past administration.
He said many projects were realised for the benefit of the country.
Therefore, he said the “shared prosperity” concept was neither new nor original.
“It is a continuation of policies by the previous government but packaged differently. So what are the new things being offered here?” he asked.