Economic reform needs unorthodox ideas

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Azizi said that the economic reform agenda has to look different and should consider the unorthodox ideas. To ensure the strides of the nation confidently into the future as given in the unusual pandemic situation. Innovative business models, generating new ideas, and production techniques along with the ability to diffuse them quickly through the economy are the bigger challenge for Malaysia’s economy today.

The government is facing challenges of entrenched disadvantage in its role as a policymaker. Over the last 30 years, Malaysia had not reached this point despite the improvements in wealth inequality. Where we can comfortably say that we have effectively addressed the issue. Finance Minister addressed these words at the virtual Global Education Conference and Postgraduate Colloquium 2021 yesterday hosted by UNIRAZAK.

Tengku Zafrul said that the pandemic has exposed several gaps in public service delivery. In the provision of social safety nets, there is room for change in the role played by government policy. He said that there was a group of Malaysians who were at a disadvantage in climbing out of poverty. This was their greater use of technology and digital inclusion might be necessary to help them.

The combination of direct cash assistance and subsidies for day-to-day essential items such as cooking oil and flour has managed to meet the needs of the disadvantaged. To effectively address the gaps in social safety and to address inequality, more work needs to be done. Economic related professions will need to adapt to meet Malaysia’s policy goals. 

 Due to the pandemic, a synchronous slowdown of the global economy is seen. Which the policymakers in many countries have to grapple with the productivity growth. Historic contribution to productivity growth from capital expansion had shown signs of stalling in the past few years even before the pandemic occurred. 

The destructive entrepreneurship of rent-seeking should be removed just as the dynamism through productive entrepreneurship in private markets should be encouraged.  Markets and competition remain a strong antidote to monopoly rents with a strong consumer focus and reinforced with appropriate regulation.