Towards a National Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Policy (NISEP)
Published on 24 Feb 2019
The Kingsley Strategic Institute (KSI) calls on the Government and the Economic Action Council to introduce a National Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Policy (NISEP) to better prepare Malaysia to face the challenges of a VUCA World (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous).
The VUCA World requires new thinking, new strategies and new policies.
We propose that the National Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Policy (NISEP) comprises five key strategic thrusts:
- Sustainable Economic Growth: Malaysia’s needs a macro-economic policy that promotes robust albeit sustainable economic growth. The new policy must put the country on a strong growth trajectory taking into account our strengths and weaknesses and our unique country propositions. There must be continued strong focus on deregulation to make the private sector a strong engine of growth without being too over-regulated. Reducing Government involvement in business will also reduce the crowding out effect and can make the private sector more robust and competitive. Consideration should be given to revive PEMUDAH which in the past had done well and achieved a lot in terms of reducing bureaucratic red tape and over regulations which have shackled the private sector. The policy promoting sustainable economic growth must also empower and encourage the growth of SME’s and start-ups.
We need to also ensure that in the process of deregulation and liberalization there are some checks and measures to avoid exploitation by unscrupulous businessmen. The Malaysia Competition Commission (MyCC) should perhaps be given powers to oversee consumer protection. Only with strong and sustainable economic growth can we expand the economic cake to look after and benefit the B40.
The strategy to promote sustainable economic growth should also include policies, plans and strategies to embrace digital-driven growth from Big Data, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) which will spur digital transformation. It has been estimated that digital transformation will need USD10 billion to Malaysia’s GDP by 2021 with global IoT spending expected to reach USD7.5 billion by 2020.
- Inclusive Development: Greater focus must be given to eradicating inequalities. Growing inequalities are destabilizing and can be potential threats to stability, security and peace. We need the National Economic Policy to prioritize inclusive development. Greater attention must be accorded to urban poverty for the urban poor today comprises all races. Policies should be enacted to protect the low income families or B40. Inclusive development should also benefit the Orang Asli and different regions in the country. At the end of the day no one should be left behind. The 2nd limb of the NEP to eradicate poverty irrespective of race should be maintained. To ensure the success of inclusive development higher standards of human rights should be set. Human rights protection should also be given greater priority. Our development focus should have a human rights orientation. A Needs based poverty alleviation strategy should be emphasized. At the same time the Inclusive Development Policy should also prioritize the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and promote tripartite performance between Government, Business and Civil Society to achieve the SDG’s by 2030.
- Employment Creation: It is necessary to ensure that the National Economic Policy emphasizes job creation especially jobs of the future. More programmes should be developed to reskill and retrain workers. On the job training and certification should be implemented on a larger scale. TVET needs to be restructured and re-prioritized with a higher pay structure for TVET trained skilled workers. To reduce graduate unemployment soft skills should also be included in University curriculum such as communications, problem-solving and critical thinking skills to promote graduate employability. We should encourage Malaysians to be multi-lingual if not tri-lingual in Malay, English and either Mandarin, Tamil, Japanese or a European language like German, French or Spanish. To prepare the next generation for Industry 4.0 coding should be taught in schools. More emphasis should be placed on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and the Internet of Things in order to create more jobs of the future. Priority should also be placed on stopping job losses arising from Industry 4.0 and the current soft economic conditions. The Malaysian Employers Federation has projected a higher job loss this year. Hence, reskilling and continuous learning should be emphasized. We need also a big push in productivity improvement.
- Entrepreneurship Development: Strategies, policies and plans should also be developed to support the development of entrepreneurs in particular youth and women entrepreneurs. We need a dynamic and conducive eco-system to foster entrepreneurial growth and start-ups. Micro enterprises should also be given more encouragement and incentives. As the same time, social enterprises should be actively encouraged and promoted. Social enterprises can be an additional growth engine in the new economy. A National Social Enterprise Development Plan should be formulated to promote and encourage social entrepreneurship. Companies should also be encouraged to realign their CSR programmes to support social enterprises that can contribute to the social good and community well-being.
- Ethical Leadership: Underpinning the new National Economic Policy should be a strong commitment to ethical leadership and integrity. There should be zero tolerance for corruption in both the public and private sectors. An all out War against corruption is necessary. Institutional reforms should be expedited to institutionalize good governance, integrity, accountability and transparency. Ethical leadership that is pro-people should eliminate the arrogance of power.
In conclusion, we believe that the proposed National Inclusive and Sustainable Development Policy (NISEP) will be grounded on 6 core objectives:
- achieve national unity and harmony;
- promote sustainability with a strong focus on the sustainability development goals;
- create an inclusive and caring Malaysian society where no one is left behind;
- develop a values-based society upholding integrity and ethical leadership;
- prepare Malaysia to face the challenges of the VUCA World (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) and the 4th Industrial Revolution;
- promote the 3I’s (integrity, inclusiveness, innovation) to achieve the 3P’s (Peace, Progress, Prosperity).
We need a policy that heals the nation, give hope to our people and prosper the nation.