KUALA LUMPUR, 27 September 2021 – A proposal for Malaysia to have an anti-poverty programme for better execution of related initiatives under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) has been mooted by the Asia Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) Centre for Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam.
The economist and former civil servant said the government should focus on concentrating and helping the poor as more than 600,000 households from the middle 40 per cent (M40) income group have slipped into the bottom 40 per cent (B40) category due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The New Economic Policy (NEP) should be applied to all people and not be divided by race or religion,” he told Bernama.
He noted that the health sector certainly needs to be given more focus in the 12MP amid the pandemic, however, the housing sector also must be given the same attention for the convenience of the lower-income group.
Ramon also proposed that the government have a monitoring system either in parliamentary sitting or ministry level to oversee transparent ministry expenditure and to ensure no corruption was involved.
“The government needs to establish good politic where the people can participate, get ordinary people involved at different levels from federal, state or district to monitor the progress,” he said.
He said Malaysia has always come up with good ideas and well-written plans but the biggest failure was a lack of effort to monitor how the funds allocated were spent on the people.
Ramon noted that the success of the 12MP depends on its implementation and the government’s performance.
“Look at the 11MP, we must learn from the past mistake. How much have we progressed?
“There should be less politics and more performance. Don’t let the poor get poorer, the rich get richer,” he said.
In addition, he urged the current government to learn from past experiences in determining the nation’s direction for the next five years and ensuring smooth governance while looking after the benefit of all people.
When tabling the 12MP in the Dewan Rakyat today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob highlighted nine main focus areas:
i. Boosting economic growth.
ii. Strengthening growth catalysts.
iii. Improving the well-being of the Malaysian Family.
iv. Strengthening public safety and order.
v. Eradicating hardcore poverty and bridging the income gap.
vi. Strengthening the Bumiputera and Malaysian Family agenda.
vii. Accelerating the development of Sabah, Sarawak and the less developed states.
viii. Accelerating green growth.
ix. Improving the efficiency of public service delivery and ensuring effective policy implementation.