The 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) Mid-Term Review (MTR) undertaken by the Unity Government is not a usual approach in assessing the country’s five-year development plan but instead encompasses new policies and strategies to address current challenges.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the 12MP MTR has been realigned with the aspiration and vision of the MADANI Economy, which he presented on July 27, to boost Malaysia’s economy for a ten-year period and promote national development while enhancing the quality of life for the people.

“The nation is at a crossroads, whether to maintain old policies and strategies or to undertake reform. This reform must encompass a framework for improving governance, policy shifts, and introducing new strategies and approaches in line with current demands,” he said.

When tabling the motion on the 12MP MTR at the Dewan Rakyat today, the Prime Minister said that a clear and comprehensive shift is needed by the Unity Government, which he has led since December 2022, to bring Malaysia back on the right track of proper economic growth.

Anwar, who is also Finance Minister, said the new approaches and strategies are necessary following political instability and the COVID-19 pandemic which began in early 2020, which led to job losses, a decline in average economic growth and a decrease in foreign investment.

To meet the needs of financing the people’s priority areas, improving management quality, and establishing targeted subsidies to support the basic needs of the population, the government will allocate an additional RM15 billion while fully utilising the RM400 billion allocation under the 12MP, bringing the total to RM415 billion.

Themed “Malaysia MADANI: Sustainable, Prosperous, High-Income”, the 12MP MTR introduces 17 Big Bold measures covering 71 main strategies and initiatives that will serve as the main catalyst in accelerating the efforts to reform the socioeconomic development of the nation in line with the Malaysia MADANI aspiration.

Anwar said that these Big Bold measures commence with eradicating hardcore poverty, addressing fundamental infrastructure and the basic needs of the people, including improving schools and underprivileged clinics, ensuring clean water supply, and advancing the Islamic economy.

“In eradicating hardcore poverty, Insya-Allah we will achieve significant success by the end of this year,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the 12MP MTR comprehensively reviews policies, strategies, and overall objectives, taking into account urban-rural development disparities, existing wealth disparities, growing debt, fiscal constraints, and the gradual economic structural transition.

The country’s macroeconomic achievements and current indicators show that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has recorded a growth of 4.2 per cent; labour market performance has improved, with a higher productivity rate of 3.7 per cent per year for the period 2021-2022; and the unemployment rate has decreased to 3.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2023.

The inflation rate in July 2023 has decreased to two per cent, the lowest in 24 months, while the Malaysian People’s Well-being Index which measures the level of economic and social well-being of the people has increased by 1.3 per cent per year.

Additionally, the average monthly household income has increased to RM8,479 in 2022 from RM7,901 in 2019.

The Prime Minister said there are 12 key affirmations at the core of 12MP MTR, which were structured around three main focuses, namely moving towards a high-income country, building a prosperous society, and strengthening sustainability and governance.

To propel Malaysia into a high-income nation in line with the goal of becoming an economic leader in Asia, Anwar stated that Malaysia aims for economic growth of at least five per cent per year throughout the 12MP period, with a focus on high-value-added industries and making the country a preferred investment destination.

To achieve these goals, emphasis will be placed on high-growth, high-value (HGHV) sectors and industries, including the energy transition-based industry which was implemented through the National Energy Transition Roadmap (NETR), technology and digital-based industries, and enhancing the competitiveness of sectors and industries under the New Industrial Master Plan (NIMP) 2030.

“The NETR has identified 10 strategic and high-impact flagship projects with an expected investment of RM25 billion, creating 23,000 high-quality job opportunities and reducing 10,000 gigagrams of carbon dioxide equivalent per year,” he said.

Discussing the government’s focus on developing a prosperous society to improve the living standards of the people, the Prime Minister, in a presentation lasting about an hour and a half, stated that five key areas would be priorities in efforts to reduce income disparities.

These priorities include the implementation of various initiatives to eradicate poverty across all ethnicities, such as the Urban Community Economic Empowerment Programme, the Rural Community Welfare Development Scheme, and the Orang Asli Economic Development Programme, as well as special programmes for Bumiputera Sarawak and Anak Negeri Sabah.

Additionally, the government will strengthen the social protection system for the people, including improving cash assistance and the Rahmah programme.

To highlight the potential and improve the well-being of youth, Anwar stated that the National Youth Economic Empowerment Plan will be launched with a focus on enhancing the employability of unemployed youth and those engaged in the informal job sector.

In addition to focusing on economic development and the income of the people, the Prime Minister stated that the government is also emphasising the spiritual well-being of the people through the MADANI Society Empowerment and strengthening healthcare services.

“The growing concern of mental health issues has also become a government priority. Therefore, the government has decided to establish a Mental Health Institute to ensure integrated efforts between the government, the private sector, and civil society organisations in addressing this issue,” he said.

Addressing the availability of future talent, he said that the government will intensify efforts to restructure the labour market, including introducing a progressive wage model, increasing the participation of women in the workforce by 60 per cent, and empowering Persons with Disabilities by improving access to employment, which will be integrated into the MyFutureJobs portal.

In an effort to strengthen the country’s education system, Anwar stated that the Digital Education Policy (DPD) will be launched to produce digitally skilled students to face the Fourth Industrial Revolution era, and that the government will also further strengthen Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum, as well as Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

“Key initiatives of the DPD include the implementation of digital education competency enhancement training programmes, curriculum improvements, and the setting up of a digital education specialist team,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said the government will optimise national security control through projects such as upgrading command centres and constructing new operational bases for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

He said the government will also upgrade and construct new Immigration, Customs, Quarantine, and Security Complexes at selected entry points and build new Malaysian Armed Forces security posts along the Indonesia-Sabah/Sarawak borders, and a naval base in Bintulu, Sarawak.

In a bid to enhance the efficiency of public services and public service governance, Anwar said the government is committed to introducing two Big Bold measures namely Governance and Institutional Framework, as well as Corruption-Related Legislation, to restore Malaysia’s image and elevate its status as an honourable and anti-corruption nation.

“The Public Sector Governance Act and Integrity Plan will be introduced as anti-corruption governance guidelines for all entities, both in the public and private sectors. The government also targets Malaysia to be in the top 25 in the global Corruption Perceptions Index within 10 years,” he said.

To strengthen the public service machinery, he said the Special Task Force for Public Sector Reform (STAR) has been set up to help resolve pending matters and expedite the implementation of projects and service delivery to the people.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency