Malaysia's export-dependent economy has been hit hard by the global recession, contracting by a forecast 3.0 per cent this year and jeopardising its ambitions of becoming a developed nation by 2020. --PHOTO: BT
KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S economy has been stagnating for the past decade and is now trailing badly behind its neighbours, a senior minister said on Tuesday, calling for 'urgent' and wide-ranging reforms.
Malaysia's export-dependent economy has been hit hard by the global recession, contracting by a forecast 3.0 per cent this year and jeopardising its ambitions of becoming a developed nation by 2020.
'Malaysia is trapped in a low-value-added, low-wage and low-productivity structure,' Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah told an economic outlook conference.
Among its peers China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand, Malaysia's economic growth over the past three years was second-lowest, he said.
'Our economy has been stagnating in the last decade. We have lost our competitive edge to remain as the leader of the pack in many sectors of the economy. Our private investment has been steadily in decline. While Singapore and Korea's nominal per capita GDP grew within the last three decades by 9 and 12 times respectively, ours grew only by a factor of four.'
In a withering assessment, Mr Ahmad said the services sector is underdeveloped, private investment is half the levels before the 1997-98 Asian crisis, and the manufacturing sector is suffering from lack of investment. He called for sweeping measures including an emphasis on meritocracy and ensuring all Malaysians are given 'equal opportunity to participate in the economy'. -- AFP