The results of GE13 have generated a great deal of news since the elections, and undeniably, stories of political strife and internal battles make quite the enjoyable read. Yet the result of all of this has been to ignore one of the single-greatest factors in the elections’ outcome: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s sterling economic policy and performance.
It is vital for Malaysia’s future that these things continue and grow.
Other than Najib himself, Barisan Nasional had no greater weapon when the polls were called. The Prime Minister’s high approval rating and proven track record of reform and economic growth helped draw back the Indian vote and return an increase in seats at the Dewan Rakyat for Umno. This is precisely because Najib’s economic reforms are exactly what Malaysia has needed, and the proof is in economic growth that is the envy of most of the rest of the world.
The figures have become almost rote, and that in itself is a testament to the growth to which we have become accustomed. It nevertheless bears repeating: Malaysia is on course to see another year of 5 per cent economic growth, and it now appears that we will hit the Vision 2020 milestone of fully-developed status before 2020. All of this is happening while the rest of the world appears to be tipping back into recession, again.
Najib’s macro-economic policies must continue, for the sake of the country as a whole.
Yet the Government’s remarkable large-scale economic performance, a direct result of Najib’s policies and encouragement of international trade, domestic growth and international investment, is but one part of the picture. Najib’s entire approach to policy has been driven by two words: transformation and moderation. These words have driven his approach to the Government’s involvement in economic growth, and toward helping the rakyat reap the rewards of that growth.
BN’s manifesto promised more of this, and we need it. The division between city and kampung, urban and longhouse, is not nearly so large as has been suggested because of election results. Yet in the absence of policies applied through the 1Malaysia concept, those divisions will only grow.
Najib has repeatedly mooted the idea of further liberalising the capital markets, and he is correct to do so. The growth of SMEs will be the critical component to driving the nation to fully-developed status, and providing those concerns with access to capital sufficient to grow and hire will drive domestic demand, helping to break the so-called middle income trap. These SMEs will most likely flourish in urban and semi-urban areas, increasing prevailing wages and helping to offset the cost increases that every developing country experiences as it moves to fully-developed status.
The 1Malaysia concept should be re-doubled. While rural areas must not be neglected, urban areas need special attention in terms of subsidies and economic growth. Government investment in major urban centres will spur additional growth and help offset cost of living as BR1M does. The 1Malaysia Clinics and other 1Malaysia programmes, as promised in BN’s election manifesto, must expand into high-density urban areas. Development must not harm more than it helps.
There must also be hard medicine – subsidy rationalisation and a change in our tax structure must come soon. Yet these things will only be briefly painful; the history of subsidy cuts the world over shows that short pain yields enormous growth in very short order. It is time for Malaysia to step into the ranks of the developed nations in its subsidy and tax policies.- See more at: http://web.archive.org/web/20130805195607/www.thechoice.my/malaysian-news/64906-najibs-economic-policies-are-working-and-should-continue#sthash.Rf9dnKQE.dpuf