KUALA LUMPUR: Perak ruler Sultan Nazrin Shah today gave three ways in which Malaysia could reach high-income status, including by making the economy and society resilient, competitive and performance-based.
Despite Malaysia’s advantages, including its significant natural endowments, he said the economy was still relatively small and very open, thus making it vulnerable to changes in international trade and patterns of globalisation.
He said while it was widely accepted that Malaysia must increase its role in technology and innovation and promote productivity gains, there was resistance to improving the performance of labour and capital.
“As a result, the economy remains reliant on sectors at the lower-end of the value-added spectrum.
“This is one key area that we must focus on in order to ensure that we remain competitive in such a challenging global context,” he said when opening a seminar by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies.
Sultan Nazrin added that education and skills training must also be brought up to international standards.
He lamented that Malaysia’s education system, from primary to tertiary levels, remained “far behind” in international terms, especially in science and mathematics.
He also said there was a need to promote social and cultural flexibility and adaptation as old mindsets would prevent Malaysians from becoming a learning society which was necessary for future survival.
“We cannot continue with closed ‘business-as-usual’ mindsets,” he said, highlighting the need to think beyond traditional factors of production such as labour and capital, and to take into account issues arising from open borders and labour mobility.
“While many Malaysians can understand and would agree with this goal, few realise the full extent of the changes needed to make it a reality.”
The second transition, Sultan Nazrin said, was to establish a just and equitable society as outlined three decades ago in Vision 2020.
This, he said, was an essential part of nation-building for all countries, especially those with multicultural societies.
Sultan Nazrin said while Malaysia had successfully addressed the issue of absolute poverty, wealth distribution was “clearly still a key issue”.
The third transition, he said, was for Malaysians to take full advantage of the current wave of technological transformation, and become leaders in adopting and applying these new technologies in all fields.
But the application and adoption of advanced technology was not without major challenges, including unemployment, he warned.
He said policies prioritising investment in human capital, including through support for lifelong learning, could reduce such risks.
“So those who are at the greatest risk of losing their jobs, mainly low-skilled and medium-skilled workers, will be able to transition into the new jobs being created through technological change.”
Sources : https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/10/04/perak-sultan-gives-3-ways-malaysia-can-achieve-high-income-status/