Private sector to still lead economic growth

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s private sector will continue to lead the country towards becoming a high-income economy and achieve developed nation status, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said.

He said the government’s role will be to create an environment for the private sector to thrive.

“We need to pursue economic diversification. This could be a different product, geography and industry, all of which are typically high risk endeavours for business,” he said at Khazanah Megatrend Forum 2018 Luncheon Address, here.

The annual Khazanah Megatrend Forum brings together thought leaders from around the world – in front of an invited audience of the most influential members of Malaysia’s business, academic, and socio-political communities.

Lim assured the audience that the government is supportive of a private sector-led economic growth to improve the overall growth of the country and the rakyat.

Under the previous government administration, Lim said, it was impossible for the county to achieve sustainability due to fiscal challenges.

Lim said the government needs to collaborate with the private sector to lead growth with continued innovation to support economic diversification.

“If there are ways in which the government can help either minimise the risks of innovation or improve the general business ecosystem in Malaysia, we will do it,” he added.

“Malaysia’s exports need to remain competitive to maintain our current account balance. We must also recalibrate public finances towards a path of long-term fiscal sustainability,” he said.

Lim said more focus should be given on sectors and industries, which are value-added and externally oriented in line with future megatrends such as demographics, climate change and Industry 4.0.

“We will support a new industry only if it benefits Malaysia’s economic future. Only then can we really move up the value chain and move towards a higher-income and higher-wage economy,” he said.

Lim said the government’s role is to ensure that no one is penalised by their life circumstances.

“We are committed to provide basic protection for all Malaysians via shared and affordable public services. These social welfare policies must be designed to empower Malaysians, particularly the underprivileged B40 group,” he said.

Lim said for example, the abolishment of the multi-stage Goods and Services Tax (GST) that was replaced with a lighter single-stage Sales and Services Tax (SST) would lighten the people’s tax burden by RM23 billion each year.

Source: NST