Malaysia needs to shift to an economy based on technology, digital and innovation – Rafizi
19 Dec 2022
The Malaysian economy needed to be shifted to a 21st-century economy based on digital, technology, added value, creativity and innovation from an economy based on commodities and low-value manufacturing, Minister of Economy Mohd Rafizi Ramli said.
“I hope that within these five years, we can shift the government’s dependence from only a few financial sources to a combination of stronger, sustainable, diverse and progressive sources of income,” he said at the debate on the motion for a vote of confidence for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at Parliament today.
Rafizi said Malaysia also needed to build an economic ecosystem that is fair to workers and offered wages that commensurated with qualifications and experiences so that the country has mobility and marketability opportunities up to the international level.
Therefore, he said the government or the grouping of those who have the ability to make decisions to implement difficult strategic shifts in this five-year period is important amid the difficult and challenging global and domestic economic conditions.
“We need political stability because we have to make some very difficult decisions in this global economic situation,” he said.
Mohd Rafizi said at the same time, the country also needed a government that has arbitration and is free to carry out its respective duties including judicial institutions, parliament and the government in addition to protecting, empowering and striving for the independence of these institutions.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Titiwangsa Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said he is concerned about the country’s economic growth shrinking in the period from 2018 to 2021.
He said that based on data, the number of graduates produced by the country compared with the number of new jobs offered by the private sector in the four years clearly does not show sustainable economic growth.
“In developing economic growth, we cannot ignore the elements of investment growth and expanding consumption but when looking between these two elements, the number of new graduates and new jobs is shrinking,” he said.
He said in 2018, the number of graduates produced was 299,000 compared with 101,000 new jobs; in 2019 there were 386,000 new graduates and 103,000 new jobs; 2020 with 294,000 new graduates and 73,000 new jobs; and 2021 as many as 286,000 new graduates with only 69,500 new jobs offered.
Besides that, Johari said he is also concerned about the increasing amount of national debt, which increased by almost RM400 billion in the period of 2018-2021 to reach RM1.2 trillion.
“In 2017, we paid only RM27.9 billion in interest but in 2022, interest payments will reach RM43 billion. What worries me is that it will affect the country in the next five to 10 years.
“If we do not manage this matter (debt) carefully, the fate that befalls the Malaysian government will not be different from what we saw happen to Sri Lanka,” he added.
Johari was previously the Deputy Minister of Finance in 2015 and subsequently the Minister of Finance II after the cabinet reshuffled in 2016.
In the 15th General Election, he regained the Titiwangsa Parliamentary seat after losing it in the previous election.