KUALA LUMPUR: The National Economic Policy (NEP) and Vision 2020 failed due to “inefficient policy making” by governments under the fifth and sixth prime ministers, according to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In a clear reference to his successors Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, Mahathir however acknowledged there were some recorded success from the previous policies such as the increase in household income in the country.
“Although there were improvements in terms of the economy, there was unfair distribution of wealth among the rakyat. The policy making was also hampered by abuse of power and corruption in the previous administrations,” Mahathir (PH-Langkawi) told Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (PH-Setiawangsa), who had asked how the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 would overcome weaknesses such as abuse of power that happened in the past.
Mahathir said the government realised the income gap between the rich and poor would affect the nation’s economic growth.
“With the SPV 2030, the failures and mistakes of the past can be wiped clean. We found that even after 50 years after the NEP was implemented, and Vision 2020, the income and wealth gap between the bumiputera and non-bumiputera still exists.
“Therefore, the new approach via SPV 2030 should determine the policies, strategies and development incentives for the short, medium and long term.
“At the end, the government’s job is to ensure all Malaysians, regardless of race, will reach a decent standard of living by 2030,” he said.
On another matter, Mahathir said the government started reviewing the poverty line index (PLI) since March.
The review is being conducted by the Statistics Department and the Health Ministry in collaboration with other agencies.
“It is important to completely eradicate poverty. I have also instructed the Economic Affairs Ministry to study the United Nations Special Rapporteur’s End of Mission Statements report,” said Mahathir (PH-Langkawi).
He was responding to a question by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson) on the actions taken by the government in relation to the findings of the UN report, which highlighted Malaysia was using an unduly low poverty line that did not reflect the cost of living.
“The household income survey (HIS) methodology used by the UN works in determining the poverty rate on a macro level, it may have shortcomings at the micro level,” Mahathir said, adding it may not paint an accurate picture of consumption patterns, the needs and the actual demography of households at state and district level due to its sample sizing limitations.
Mahathir said the government would adopt the multidimensional poverty index (MPI) to complement the Household Income Survey (HIS) system currently in use.
“The MPI is more inclusive and it adheres to the international standards,” he said.