The ‘Shared Prosperity’ outlined by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently in conjunction with Pakatan Harapan (PH)’s first anniversary in power, is the government’s latest endeavour to generate more economic benefits for all races to enjoy.
Academicians and local political observers see the undertaking as genuine and sincere, and which the government is trying to implement, to prosper all Malaysians and simultaneously resolve the present economic quandary.
Geostrategist Azmi Hassan, who is also a former Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) lecturer, said the government in this regard was clearly striving hard to develop and improve the country’s economy.
“This means, as conveyed by the prime minister, that the government is not only concerned with the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth but more importantly, on how it could lavish on the people, the benefits derived from a good economy.
“This is where the seven initiatives that were announced last Thursday will play a role,” Azmi told Bernama today.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his special address on May 9 described the “Shared Prosperity” as an effort to ensure that Malaysia continues its path of sustainable development in line with the equitable growth of each value chain, class, community and geography to create a sense of harmony and stability among the people by 2030.
Prime Minister said the initiative would increase the people’s purchasing power and eliminate the income and wealth gap between classes, regions and extreme disparity in supply chain.
“To achieve this goal, the government outlines at least seven strategic thrusts needed, among others, restructuring and improving the business ecosystem; generating new growth sectors; enhancing talent reformation and national resources; and improving labour market and employee income.”
Besides the seven strategic thrusts, the prime minister said the government had also identified other catalysts such as a progressive fiscal policy, a high level of governance and integrity, a desired outcome of education, a higher quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and a competitive financial support capital.
Azmi said if one were to scrutinise, the content of the speech did not touch solely on political issues but was more focused on what should be done, not only by the government but also the people.
“For the government, the seven initiatives presented during the speech were a manifestation of the Shared Prosperity concept that will be achieved by the people and nation,” he added.
Sharing similar views, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Dr Syed Agil Alsagoff looks at the endeavour in the context of increasing domestic trade to help vitalise the country’s economy.
He said the initiatives would improve the people’s standard of living through incentives and subsidies especially for the bottom 40 per cent of income earners (B40) so that everyone could enjoy life fairly and equally in the face of a challenging economic environment.
“This concept can be harnessed if Malaysians can be of one heart to preserve unity and patriotism in the country’s aspirations to become a developed nation without marginalising the less fortunate.
“Malaysians should practice tolerance and ensure that racial harmony is preserved besides working together towards improving the country’s economic performance and giving attention to local industries,” he said.
Meanwhile, Professor Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood, a Constitution expert and law lecturer at International Islamic University said reducing poverty and bridging the income gap were the most important aspects in the implementation of the Shared Prosperity.
To this end, he said short-term and long-term solutions to the cost of living, purchasing power and total income was crucial as such issues were related to the people’s economic wellbeing.
“The government needs to ensure that poverty and total income gaps are reduced so Malaysia can stand as tall as other developing Asian and ASEAN countries. This is a fundamental issue because cost of living has been plaguing the people for a long time.
“For example, uncontrolled goods price hike will impact the people and their buying power. If the enforcement is weak, then the impact will particularly be on the B40 group,” he said.
He said middlemen dealing in agricultural and marine products which are basic needs for the people, should constantly be monitored as they could influence prices.