There has been some recent rumble in the concrete jungle as the Malaysian economic landscape shape-shifts to re-emerge as a formidable “Asian Tiger” since the country is poised to attract more overseas investments this year.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is optimistic that Malaysia will return to the former glorious era of being known as an Asian Tiger based on the outcome of meetings held with world leaders including foreign investors in the United States and the United Kingdom in October 2018.
“I appeal to Malaysians to make the necessary preparations and do not disappoint them (investors). We will work hard and produce quality goods to show the world that Malaysia has indeed recovered and is raring to return as the Asian Tiger,” he explained confidently.
I believe that history can repeat itself and such a vision maybe quite possible to achieve. Throughout Dr Mahathir’s first tenure as prime minister, Malaysia transformed from an agriculture-based economy the 1960s into an industrialised one in the 1990s.
In 1965, Malaysia’s gross domestic product contribution was largely attributed to its agricultural sector, which accounted for 31.5% of GDP, compared with the manufacturing sector, which contributed only 10.4%. The figures reversed in 1995, with the manufacturing sector becoming the major player to the economy, contributing 32.2% compared with the agricultural sector’s 13.1%.
Malaysia flourished substantially between the early to mid-1990s with the injection of large amounts of foreign investment,, with average GDP growth being 8.7% per annum and the unemployment rate at 2.5%. Moreover, Malaysia witnessed a significant achievement in 1996 in reaching 10% GDP growth, almost double that achieved in 2017, which was 5.5%.
During this golden era, Malaysia was known as a “heaven” for foreign investors due to its competitive advantages. However, as years went by, other ASEAN countries also progressed tremendously, and investors’ interests were divided with many other options in this region.
However, like our premier, I feel buoyant about our nation’s revival as an Asian Tiger. I fully echo such grand vision as my education, property and investment divisions are all fired up and geared towards supporting such a gigantic growth leap in the coming year as well.
However, moving forward, there are a couple of critical issues we need to fix in order to achieve the Asian Tiger vision. We need to develop and groom our talents in line with industrial revolution technology (Industry 4.0) which has become an integral part to creating high-tech companies with competent workforce.
Towards, this end, my education group is offering to fill this gap by offering many practical skills programs which will produce a competent and digital savvy skilled graduates.
We also need to build excellent infrastructure, such as high-speed internet and world-class industrial parks which is critical to attracting value-added high-quality investment and making Malaysia a regional hub for high-end production.
The Pakatan Harapan’s election win was turning point for us to pick up the pieces of a 60-year reign and the opportunity to change the course of our future. It’s time for us recreate, revamp and restore our former glory days and make our Nation great once again.