KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has the potential to become a high-income status nation by 2028, says Economy Minister Mohd Rafizi Ramli (pic).
He said that Malaysia has had the key characteristics needed to achieve this ambitious goal.
“We are one of the most digitally connected countries in the region, an open trading economy at a strategic location, and we continue to be both economically resilient and competitive in the region.
“Especially now as we have a stable government with a sense of unity to set aside our differences to serve the people,” he said during his keynote speech at the National Economic Forum 2023 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here on Thursday (May 18).
Rafizi said that this was further boosted due to the lessons learnt by national leaders from the pandemic that swept the world.
“We now can no longer blindly pursue economic growth without considering the pace, quality, and sustainability of that growth.
“This is why we have learnt that investing heavily in the digital and green economy is the right path forward with the understanding that economic growth and environmental sustainability no longer being opposing goals, but complementary ones,” he said.
In line with this goal, Rafizi said the government would continue its efforts to support the digital ecosystem as well as the country’s transition to renewable energy dependence.
Rafizi also recognised the importance of tackling the skilled labour shortage and common occurrence of skills mismatch among skilled workers.
“Only about 30% of our workers are considered high-skilled, putting us far behind our aspirational peers, where high-skilled workers in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries are around 40%.
“We will need to create two million additional high-skilled jobs to reach the same level as the OECD countries, according to a World Bank report.
“As such, figuring out how to create an ecosystem of continuous and sustained high skills training will be a core focus of our administration and will require cross-ministerial and cross-agency coordination to be successful,” he added.
Rafizi said an overall societal and cultural change among the people was also important in achieving the goal of becoming a high-income nation.
“We will have to engage in long-term societal investments that require effective resource planning and scaling across all levels of society,” he said.
The National Economic Forum 2023 saw hundreds of participants from various levels and economic sectors come together to discuss the challenges facing Malaysia’s national economic growth.