Focus on measurable targets, healing long-term scars, govt told

28-Sep-2021 Intellasia | FreeMalaysiaToday | 5:02 AM Print This Post

The new 12th Malaysia Plan should have concrete and measurable targets so that the people can track its progress over the next five years, an analyst said today.

Calvin Cheng of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (Isis) Malaysia said besides progress tracking, the plan should also address the healing of “long-term scars” caused by the pandemic.

The long-term scars, he said, are unemployment, unequal pay or wages, and poverty.

He said while the economy was expected to recover next year, issues such as unemployment and poverty were unlikely to be resolved as quickly.

“Even if the gross domestic product (GDP) recovers to pre-crisis levels in 2022 as predicted, it will take far longer to heal from the other longer-term scars and socio-economic consequences from the pandemic.

“It may take five years or even decades, (to address the) poverty rate (especially in the) poorer regions of the peninsula,” he said.

Cheng said that with headline unemployment rates projected to remain at very high levels past 2022 and 2023, the next five years should be dedicated to addressing this issue.

He said unequal wages among marginalised groups such as youths, women and the vulnerable ought to be addressed, too.

“There is a real need to dedicate part of the next five years in spending policy to alleviating these long-term impacts, healing the wounds from the pandemic, and reducing inequalities which have been worsened by this pandemic.

“At the same time, there is a need to rebuild the resilience of the Malaysian economy to withstand and weather any potential future crises or shocks,” he said in a talk on the 12th Malaysia Plan on Astro Awani today.

Sabah-based farmer Shahrisal Denci said more effort was needed to develop the rural economy and preventing rural folks, especially youths, from migrating to cities.

The Ranau native said there was a lack of effort in exploiting “indigenous wealth” where local communities could be encouraged to come up with successful small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Shahrisal said the lack of basic infrastructure such as high-speed internet and other forms of connectivity had also deterred the growth of these SMEs.

He added that farming should also be modernised and given a better image under the 12th Malaysia Plan so that it could be marketed as a rewarding career.


Category: Malaysia

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