PETALING JAYA: Malaysia must start looking at a long-term plan to address post-pandemic recovery over the next three to five years, says the Economic Action Council (EAC) secretariat.
Its executive director Noor Azlan Ghazali said this should include structural reforms and preparing the economy for a new landscape created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Recovery must come with reform. We should avoid (an outcome of) reviving the economy but returning to the way we were before,” he said in a virtual press conference while presenting an independent study by the EAC secretariat today.
Called “Resetting Malaysia: Aligning to the New Economic Landscape”, the “semi-official” study, which involved engagements with various stakeholders over the past year, makes multiple recommendations for the government to adopt.
It focuses on eight agenda items – the digital economy; technology advancement; the shifting global landscape; promoting shared responsibility, good governance and sustainability; preparing the future workforce; strengthening public service delivery and promotion of a competitive market; attending to vulnerable communities and mainstreaming the third sector; and corporate recovery and reform.
Noor Azlan hoped the study will provide vital information for the government to draft a more detailed recovery plan, as current measures address short-term “injuries” caused by the pandemic.
Among the recommendations are strengthened coordination across ministries and agencies and the appointment of “performance appraisal panels” comprising experts and prime stakeholders to evaluate the achievements of the agencies.
It also calls for strict adherence to fixed schedules on the issuance of government masterplans, blueprints or roadmaps.
Using the example of foreign labour, Noor Azlan noted that the country had been aiming to reduce its foreign workforce since the 9th Malaysia Plan in 2006.
“The most important aspect of us moving forward is making sure all the plans that have been announced are executed. We need to ensure we are making actual progress,” he said.
He also said the focus cannot solely be on “achieving numbers” to become a high-income nation. The environment, sustainability and mental well-being of the people must also be prioritised, he added.
As such, the study proposed that public services be charged according to income bracket instead of a “one-for-all” pricing scheme. It also suggested cost-effective subsidies and micro-targeting welfare support programmes.
The study also suggested that Putrajaya roll out “shift to digital” grants for micro- small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to adopt digital technology, along with digital support desks in every district to ensure they had full access to quality support.
Meanwhile, “green government procurements” should be made mandatory for all ministries, government-linked companies (GLCs) and state-owned enterprises, as well as a national agenda for low carbon public transport as the main transportation option in urban areas, it said.