Dr M: Shared Prosperity Vision is about closing economic gap

Dr M: Shared Prosperity Vision is about closing economic gap

PUTRAJAYA: The Shared Prosperity Vision is an effort to close the gap between the rich and the poor, urban and rural as well as worker’s income, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Speaking at a media conference today, after chairing a special Cabinet meeting on Shared Prosperity Vision at Perdana Putra, Mahathir said the discussion today was to draft a Cabinet paper to be tabled at the next weekly Cabinet meeting.

“For three hours, we discuss extensively and debated. This show how serious we are,” he said.

Also present by his side were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and fellow Cabinet ministers.

Mahathir said under the new vision, the government will give more priority to results compared to opportunities.

He also added that the Cabinet ministers agreed that there is disparity between the states in Malaysia.

“Some states are very wealthy while some are poor. We have to reduce the gap between rich and poor states.

“This means focus would be given to the poor states. If possible, the government would like to improve their income level,” Mahathir said.

Asked which states were categorised as poor, Mahathir listed states such as Kelantan, Perlis and Kedah.

He also said there are also income gap between urban and rural areas, with the urban areas being generally richer even though there is poverty in urban areas as well.

“A programme must be set up to raise the income of rural areas,” said the Langkawi MP.

Mahathir said there are significant gaps between the rich and the poor, where the poor are found to be extremely poor compared to the rich.

“The rich, for example, maybe an executive of a company who can earn two to three million annually compared to low ranking workers who earn much less. The disparity is very great,” he said.

To improve the standard of lower-income workers, the prime minister said it is not just about raising their salaries but also raising their capability to become more productive.

“Give them training so that they have greater capacity to be more efficient and carry out more sophisticated tasks,” he said.

Mahathir said Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has an important role to improve the capacity and skills of workers and as such, the government would give priority to TVET.

“When we decide on a certain priority, the national budget will also focus on that,” he said, adding that if the government does not have sufficient funds, the budget for non-priority sectors would be reduced to raise the allocation for those with priority.

Under the Shared Prosperity Vision, Mahathir stressed that the government will only select those who are really eligible to be given government contracts.

“Now, we do not allow sales of whatever contracts or licenses or AP (Approved Permit) from the government. No more selling to anybody.

“On the other hand, we will determine that the people to be awarded contracts or AP or licenses are really eligible.

“If he is not eligible, has no money, no skills, does not know the business, and if he is suddenly given a contract, he will not achieve the objective in the end,” he said.

Meanwhile, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the spirit of Shared Prosperity Vision would be imbued in Budget 2020, which will be tabled in Parliament on October 11, with priority to areas like TVET and skills training.

According to him, Shared Prosperity is a vision which will start from the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) and 13th Malaysia Plan (13MP) for 10 years.

Considerations relating to Shared Prosperity Vision to be inserted in Budget 2020 would be fine-tuned by the Finance Ministry, said Azmin.

In May, Mahathir introduced the new vision known as Shared Prosperity Vision with the objective of providing reasonable standard of living for all Malaysians in the effort to develop the country.

The vision is an effort to enable Malaysia continue sustainable development in line with equitable economic distribution for each level of the value chain, class, race and geography to create a sense of harmony and stability among the people by 2030.