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Malaysia

How to narrow the gap between the rich and poor in Malaysia?

Frederico Gil Sander's picture

If you could make one New Year’s wish for your country, what would it be?

For many Malaysians, Prime Minister Najib Razak’s wish for “a safer, more prosperous, and more equal society” likely resonated with their hopes for 2015.

Malaysians appear to be increasingly concerned about income inequality. According to a 2014 Pew Global survey, 77% of Malaysians think that the gap between the rich and poor is a big problem. The government has acknowledged that inequality remains high, and that tackling these disparities will be Malaysia’s “biggest challenge” in becoming a high-income nation.

How can Malaysia narrow the gap between the rich and poor? Global experience suggests two possible levers to achieve a more equitable income distribution.

跟踪监测城市化:大数据如何推动制定相关政策确,确保城市增长造福贫困人口

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: English
 Measuring a Decade of Spatial Growth

每一分钟,东亚地区都有数十人从农村迁往城市。

随着人口大规模迁移,世界上形成了一些超大城市,如东京、上海、雅加达、首尔、马尼拉等,也形成了若干中小城市。

使用清洁饮水到乘坐每天上下班高峰时段在各城市间运送数以百万计人口的高铁,这一转变对人们生活和生计的方方面面产生了影响。

人们之所以迁往城市,是为了寻找更好的工作,改善生活状况。不过,城市化也伴随着风险,这些风险有可能延长贫困期,导致机会缺乏,不能改善未来发展前景。

城市一旦建成,城市形态和土地利用模式就锁定下来,后代难以更改。现在城市化相关工作,可避免今后花几十年时间和大量资金来修正错误。

East Asia and Pacific countries can do better in labor regulation and social protection

Truman Packard's picture

Those unfamiliar with the fast growing emerging economies of East Asia are likely to think that governments in these countries let market forces and capitalism roam free, red in tooth and claw. That was certainly my impression before coming to work in the region, and generally that held at the outset of our work by the group of us that wrote a new World Bank report “East Asia Pacific At Work: Employment, Enterprise and Wellbeing” .

The report shows just how wrong we were. We could be forgiven this impression—many of us had come from assignments in Latin America and the Caribbean or in Europe and Central Asia, where the distortions and rigidities from labor regulation and poorly designed social protection are rife, and where policy makers cast envious looks at the stellar and sustained employment outcomes in East Asia.

Well, it turns out that although they came relatively late to labor regulation and social protection, many governments in the region have entered this arena with gusto. We were surprised to find that, going just by what is written in their labor codes, the average level of employment protection in East Asia is actually higher than the OECD average.

Malaysia: Fishermen, drug use and HIV coming full circle

Sutayut Osornprasop's picture

In Malaysia, over half of all HIV infections are transmitted through sharing contaminated needles and syringes. To combat the spread of the epidemic, the government in 2006 spearheaded 'harm reduction' interventions (pdf) which included a program where people who inject drugs are provided unused needles and syringes in exchange for used injecting equipment. Those who are addicted to opioids such as heroin, the most commonly used illicit substance in Malaysia, can also enroll in rehabilitation for synthetic opioid replacement therapy. Synthetic opioids, taken orally, help stabilize the opioid cravings of patients, thus enabling them to work. The move to introduce harm reduction in Malaysia revealed something that caught people by surprise—many of the fishermen from port city on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia use drugs.

Whither Malaysia’s brain drain?

Philip Schellekens's picture

Brain drain—the migration of talent across borders—has an impact on Malaysia’s aspiration to become a high-income nation. Human capital is the bedrock of the high-income economy. Sustained and skill-intensive growth will require talent going forward. For Malaysia to be successful in its journey to high income, it will need to develop, attract and retain talent. Brain drain does not appear to square with this objective: Malaysia needs talent, but talent seems to be leaving.

Why Updating Malaysia’s Inclusiveness Strategies is Key

Philip Schellekens's picture

Compare South Korea and Malaysia in 1970 and compare them again in 2009. South Korea was a third poorer back then and is now three times richer. Even more remarkable has been South Korea’s ability to widely share the benefits of this spectacular feat across broad segments of society. South Korea’s strong focus on broad-based human capital development allowed the country to transform itself into a high-income economy, while at the same time reducing income inequality and improving social outcomes.

What is new in Malaysia’s New Economic Model?

Philip Schellekens's picture
Malaysia's New Economic Model proposes a number of strategic reforms.

Prime Minister Najib has announced the broad outline of the proposed New Economic Model (NEM) at the Invest Malaysia conference.

The objective of the NEM is for Malaysia to join the ranks of the high-income economies, but not at all costs. The growth process needs to be both inclusive and sustainable. Inclusive growth enables the benefits to be broadly shared across all communities. Sustainable growth augments the wealth of current generations in a way that does not come at the expense of future generations.

Should Malaysia's new growth model favor manufacturing or services?

Philip Schellekens's picture

As Malaysia redefines its growth strategy, the question of which sector to promote has been a subject of ongoing debate. Some have argued that the strategy should emphasize manufacturing – and preferably high-tech manufacturing – as innovation activity is most forthcoming in this sector. Others have countered that services are key, as the typical economic structure of an advanced economy is oriented towards services. Tradable services are also fast becoming an engine of growth.

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