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Malaysia

Immigrant labor: Can it help Malaysia’s economic development?

Rafael Munoz Moreno's picture


Malaysia has been able to reach remarkable achievements over the past decades, including extreme poverty eradication and promotion of inclusive growth. It aims to reach a high-income nation status by 2020, which goes beyond merely reaching a per capita GDP threshold. As the 11th Malaysia Plan points out, the goal is to achieve a growth path that is sustainable over time, reflects greater productivity, and is inclusive. High-income status can be achieved if we ensure that future generations have access to all the resources, such as education and productive opportunities, necessary to realize their ambitions and if Malaysia’s economy is globally competitive and resource-sustainable.

Over the years, immigrants have played a crucial role in the economic development of Malaysia, with around 2.1 million immigrants registered and over 1 million undocumented as of 2013. Education levels among the Malaysian population have increased remarkably over the last two decades, and immigrant workers have become one of the primary sources of labor for low-skilled occupations, most commonly in labor-intensive sectors such as construction, agriculture and manufacturing. Economic studies show that a 10% net increase in low-skilled foreign workers could raise Malaysia’s GDP by 1.1% and create employment and increase wages for most Malaysians.

Strengthening Lao PDR’s financial system by making room for failure

José de Luna-Martínez's picture


 

To function properly, a financial system needs to have two doors in place: an “entry” and an “exit”. The first one enables qualified local or foreign institutions to enter the marketplace to provide innovative products and services – such as savings, investments, credits, payments and insurance – to households and firms at competitive prices. The second facilitates the rapid and orderly dissolution of those financial intermediaries that are not able to survive competition, manage risks properly, or comply with rules and regulations.

Transforming state-owned enterprises: What other countries can learn from Malaysia

José de Luna-Martínez's picture


As Tunisia embarks on an ambitious reform agenda to strengthen corporate governance and modernize its state-owned enterprises, senior representatives from the Ministry of Finance visited Malaysia in December last year to learn about the country’s best practices on restructuring and managing government-linked companies (GLCs).
 
These companies, where the Malaysian government has a controlling stake, underwent major transformations since 2004 to turn weak operational and financial performances into high performing entities critical for the country’s future prosperity. The program was successfully executed and has enabled these companies to become profitable, dynamic, performance-oriented, and well-governed institutions.
 
This visit is one of the first activities of the new World Bank Group Research and Knowledge Hub in Kuala Lumpur, which is helping Malaysia share its successful development experience globally. Here are a few lessons that Tunisia, and other countries, can learn from Malaysia’s experience on reforming government-linked companies.
 

How to scale up financial inclusion in ASEAN countries

José de Luna-Martínez's picture
MYR busy market

Globally, around 2 billion people do not use formal financial services. In Southeast Asia, there are 264 million adults who are still “unbanked”; many of them save their money under the mattress and borrow from so-called “loan sharks”, paying exorbitant interest rates on a daily or weekly basis. Recognizing the importance of financial inclusion for economic development, the leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) have made this one of their top priorities for the next five years.
 
Last week, the World Bank Group presented the latest data on financial inclusion in ASEAN to senior representatives of the ministries of finance and central banks of all 10 ASEAN member countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam). The session, held in Kuala Lumpur, is one of the joint activities the new World Bank Research and Knowledge Hub and Malaysia is undertaking to support financial inclusion around the world.
 

Malaysia’s long race to competitiveness

Laura Altinger's picture
Have you ever felt like you are in a race and each time you pass another competitor, more keep showing up ahead on the race track in an endless marathon? Well, countries striving to be competitive face a similar predicament. No matter how hard they try to improve their competitiveness, cut the red tape and reduce burdensome regulations, other countries are doing the same, but even quicker.

Malaysia is already a very competitive country. Today it ranks 18 out of 189 economies in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business Index. Yet, its ambition is to become more competitive. And it wants to overtake some countries on the way up. Malaysia has long recognized that a concerted cross-ministerial and public-private collaboration is needed to do just that.

Malaysia’s Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (PEMUDAH), was established in 2007 to improve the ease of doing business in Malaysia. Testament to its success was Malaysia’s surge to 6th position in the 2014 Doing Business, up from 12th place in 2013 and 18th in 2012, placing it in the same league as Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States. But since then, Malaysia has been challenged to keep up with the rapid pace of business reforms across the globe.
 

快速老龄化的东亚地区怎样才能保持其经济活力?

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: English
Panos Agency


过去三十年来,东亚地区收获了人口红利。大量且不断增长的劳动力对上世纪六十至九十年代人均收入增长的贡献接近三分之一,使得该地区成为全球增长引擎。
 
当前,东亚地区正面临另一个人口趋势构成的挑战:人口快速老龄化。新发布的一份世界银行报告发现,东亚和太平洋地区人口老龄化速度和规模均位于全球各地区首位。
 
目前,超过2.11亿65岁及以上人口居住在东亚和太平洋地区,占全球该年龄组别总人口36%。到2040年,东亚地区老龄人口将增长一倍以上,达到4.79亿;韩国、中国、泰国等国适龄就业人口将萎缩10%-15%。
 
纵观该地区,随着适龄就业人口减少和老龄化加速,政策制定者正关注人口老龄化对经济增长的潜在影响以及医疗卫生、养老金和长期养老体系对公共支出日益增加的需求。

随着该地区人口快速老龄化,政府部门、用人单位以及各家庭应如何确保辛勤工作的人们在进入老龄阶段后过上健康且有产出的生活?东亚和太平洋地区各社会应如何促进生产性老龄化并且提升包容性?

How can rapidly aging East Asia sustain its economic dynamism?

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: 中文
Panos Agency


In the last three decades, East Asia has reaped the demographic dividend. An abundant and growing labor force powered almost one-third of the region’s per capita income growth from the 1960s to the 1990s, making it the world’s growth engine.
 
Now, East Asia is facing the challenges posed by another demographic trend: rapid aging. A new World Bank report finds that East Asia and Pacific is aging faster – and on a larger scale – than any other region in history.
 
More than 211 million people ages 65 and over live in East Asia and Pacific, accounting for 36 percent of the global population in that age group. By 2040, East Asia’s older population will more than double, to 479 million, and the working-age population will shrink by 10 percent to 15 percent in countries such as Korea, China, and Thailand.
 
Across the region, as the working-age population declines and the pace of aging accelerates, policy makers are concerned with the potential impact of aging on economic growth and rising demand for public spending on health, pension and long-term care systems.
 
As the region ages rapidly, how do governments, employers and households ensure that hard-working people live healthy and productive lives in old age? How do societies in East Asia and Pacific promote productive aging and become more inclusive?
 

Taxes and budget 2016: On the road to a developed country

Faris Hadad-Zervos's picture
This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly

MALAYSIA has travelled far on the road to economic growth and shared prosperity. Using its natural resources, the country not only eliminated absolute poverty from 49% in 1970 to less than 1% in 2014, but also lifted the incomes of households at the bottom 40% of the income bracket. The Gini Coefficient — a measure of income inequality in an economy — dropped from 55.7 to 42.1 over the same period, implying that gaps in incomes were narrowing. This road is now leading towards a developed country, with a vibrant and growing middle class where aspirational households have access to relevant education and training, higher income opportunities, more savings for retirement and a safety net to protect the vulnerable from shocks.

Underlying this journey to developed country status is a series of structural reforms that have formed the bulk of the national development plans, most recently the 11th Malaysia Plan. The quest moving forward is therefore to sustain and finance this process. The 11th Malaysia Plan is budgeted to cost RM246 million between now and 2020. Taxation choices will matter a great deal for Malaysia’s prospects in this journey, more so in an environment of low or volatile oil and commodity prices and a global and regional economic slowdown.

我们必须时刻准备再次迎来严重厄尔尼诺现象

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: English
厄尔尼诺现象又回来了,而且可能会来的更猛。
 
干旱季节印尼东爪哇省Madiun的Dawuhan大坝干裂的河床上搁浅的木船。  2015年10月28日 © ANTARA FOTO/路透社/Corbis


今年上半年太平洋水域开始出现新一轮周期性变暖,亚洲、非洲和拉丁美洲都已感受到其影响。首次观察到太平洋海水变暖是在数百年前,自1950年以来正式开始监测跟踪。

气象专家预测此次厄尔尼诺现象将会持续到2016年春并有可能造成大破坏,因为气候变化可能导致一些地区暴雨和洪水加剧,另一些地区出现严重干旱和缺水。

厄尔尼诺的影响是全球性的,预计南美地区会遭遇暴雨和大洪水,非洲地区会经受酷热和干旱。

We must prepare now for another major El Niño

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: 中文
El Niño is back and may be stronger than ever.
 
A wooden boat is seen stranded on the dry cracked riverbed of the Dawuhan Dam during drought season in Madiun, Indonesia's East Java province.  October 28, 2015 © ANTARA FOTO/Reuters/Corbis



The latest cyclical warming of Pacific Ocean waters, first observed centuries ago and formally tracked since 1950, began earlier this year and already has been felt across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Weather experts predict this El Niño will continue into the spring of 2016 and could wreak havoc, because climate change is likely to exacerbate the intensity of storms and flooding in some places and of severe drought and water shortages in others.

El Niño’s impacts are global, with heavy rain and severe flooding expected in South America and scorching weather and drought conditions likely in the Horn of Africa region.

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