Malaysia on track to become high income nation by 2020, says Idris Jala

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is on track to become a high-income nation by 2020 as the nation's Gross National Income (GNI) per capita hit US$10,570 in 2015, which is just 15% short of the current high-income threshold of US$12,475 set by the World Bank.

PEMANDU Associates Sdn Bhd President and Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala said Malaysia would have achieved the high-income nation target in 2015, if the ringgit had been quoted at RM3.20 against the US dollar.

“However, as long as Malaysia's exports grow and despite the current weakening of the ringgit, we are still on track to achieve the 2020 target," he told reporters after jointly launching the Malaysia Development Experience Series of Knowledge And Research Report with Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa here today.

Idris Jala reiterated that Malaysia would have surpassed the GNI per capita by three per cent in 2015 if the currency had remained at 2010’s RM3.20 versus the US dollar.

He noted that the World Bank, however, had yet to disclose the 2020 high-income target.

“In fact, the World Bank had reduced the GNI per capita figure for the last two consecutive years, as the wealth of high-income nations had dropped,” he said.

Idris Jala added that 58 countries had seen their GNI per capita fall in 2015 , where Australia saw the biggest fall of US$4,580, Canada dropped by US$4,500, Japan (US$5,150), Switzerland (US$1,620), Brunei (US$4,300) and Singapore (US$1,870).

He remained optimistic that the high-income nation target was achievable, given that Malaysia's trade growth was stronger than Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed had said recently that Malaysia was on track to achieve an export growth of five per cent this year, higher than the 4.5% estimated by many economists. — Bernama