KUALA LUMPUR: A Barisan Nasional MP has urged the government to measure the country’s economic progress by looking at the actual size of the economy rather than growth figures alone.
“The government needs to decide whether we will look (at economic progress) in terms of the (actual) size of the economy or if we look at it cosmetically (growth figures),” said Shahar Abdullah (BN-Paya Besar).
“To me, what is important is the (actual) size of the economy. Growth figures alone do not paint a true picture of the economy,” he said when debating the 12th Malaysia Plan mid-term review.
The size of a country’s economy refers to its gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the value of the goods and services a country produces in a year.
Shahar, a former deputy finance minister, said if economic conditions remained unchanged for the next 10 years, the government would meet its target of making Malaysia among the top 30 economies in the world.
He said in such a scenario, even if Malaysia’s economy were to grow by 2%, the country would surpass Thailand, which is the 30th largest economy in the world.
“If the country achieves 6% growth, we will be on par with countries like Switzerland (in terms of economic growth). However (in such a scenario), if we were to look at GDP per capita, our ranking would only increase from 63rd to 67th (in the world).”
In July, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim outlined seven benchmarks as medium-term targets to be achieved within the next 10 years when launching the Madani economic policy.
Among the targets Anwar had set is placing Malaysia among the world’s top 30 economies, and in the top 12 in the global competitive index.
Malaysia now ranks 35th for GDP size, while neighbouring countries like Indonesia sit at 17th, Thailand 27th, Singapore 30th, and Vietnam 34th.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Malaysia’s GDP per capita is US$13,382.