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PM Mahathir outlines new shared prosperity development model for Malaysia

PM Mahathir outlines new shared prosperity development model for Malaysia

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad delivering a special address to mark the first anniversary of Pakatan Harapan in power on May 9, 2019. (Photo: Bernama)

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has outlined a new shared prosperity development model for the country, as he pledged to bring a “decent standard of living” to the people by 2030.

This would elevate Malaysia to an important economic axis in Asia, he said in a special address on Thursday (May 9) to celebrate Pakatan Harapan’s first anniversary in power.

“Shared prosperity aims at bridging the income and wealth gaps between economic classes, races and geographical territories,” he said, while outlining seven strategic thrusts to achieve the goal.

Under the shared prosperity model, the prime minister said the aim is to create an economy that is more structured, progressive, anchored on knowledge, high value, and with active participation from the society.

Among the seven key pillars include improving Malaysia’s business and industry ecosystems, exploring new growth sectors, reforming human capital, and improving labour market and wages.

Strengthening social well-being, introducing inclusive territorial development, and improving society capital were also part of the plan.

READ: Malaysia PM Mahathir rates his Cabinet 5 out of 10

Also in attendance at the televised event were ministers and prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim. On May 9, 2018, Malaysia went through its first-ever change in federal government, following a shock election victory that spelled the end of the Barisan Nasional (BN) regime.

Hitting out at BN for its corrupt and kleptocratic practices, Dr Mahathir said the nation’s economic model in the past decade only focused on adding more national debt via mega projects.

“The 70 per cent additional jobs brought about by BN were unskilled jobs. The country’s equity ownership changed to foreign hands. Economic growth only focused on major cities, while equity ownership and opportunities for locals were neglected,” he said.

READ: Commentary - After a year in power, has Pakatan Harapan learnt enough to save Malaysia from itself?

Dr Mahathir stressed that one year was too short for PH to fix the alleged wrongdoings of BN, but PH had tried its best to carry out its responsibilities. Almost 40 per cent of PH's pledges have been fulfilled so far, he claimed.

He warned his PH colleagues that the coalition has to be united, or Malaysia would become a “failed state”.

“If we cannot put aside our differences, things will get worse, the country will suffer and Malaysia would be in danger of becoming a failed state,” he said.

READ: Anwar warns against racial and religious conflicts as Pakatan Harapan marks first year in power

The prime minister also rejected the opposition’s recent smear campaign, which painted PH as anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-monarch.

He said it was ironic for Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) to call for its supporters to work with the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to defend Malays and Islam, while they had kept mum when UMNO leaders “stole the country’s wealth” via the 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Tabung Haji (pilgrimage fund), Federal Land Development Authority as well as other government institutions.

“My advice is, stop using race and religious issues to gain political mileage,” he said.  

READ: Progress in Pakatan Harapan's ‘new Malaysia’ plagued by same old issues

PH STILL THE PREFERRED CHOICE, POLL RESULTS SHOW

Pakatan Harapan supporters cheer and wave their party flags after Mahathir Mohamad claims the party wins the General Election, broadcast on a large screen at a field in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on May 9, 2018. (Photo: AP/Andy Wong)

Meanwhile, a public opinion poll conducted by KajiData Research found that 43 per cent of high-income earners were satisfied with PH’s management of the economy, but only 30 per cent of low-income earners were similarly satisfied.

This disparity has a definite political impact, the poll concluded, as low-income voters are the ones more likely to vote for the BN-PAS pact.

The study conducted since the end of March this year also found PH’s support was limited in Kelantan and Terengganu - another indication that the rural and low-income communities were not fully convinced that the coalition is a better alternative.

Nonetheless, on the whole, PH was still deemed as the most viable coalition to rule the country despite the decline in its popularity.

Forty per cent of the 1,007 respondents surveyed picked PH, compared to 15 per cent who chose BN and 16 per cent PAS.

An earlier survey showed that less than 50 per cent of voters surveyed were satisfied with Dr Mahathir, a sharp drop from the 71 per cent approval rating he received in August 2018.

Source: CNA/bernama/tx(aw)

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