Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy), said the focus would be on accelerating the development of high- potential industries, such as aerospace, advanced electrical and electronics, halal, the creative industry, biomass and smart farming. PETALING JAYA: A number of new economic sectors will be identified during the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) to drive the economy forward and create opportunities for the rakyat, according to Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) said the focus would be on accelerating the development of high- potential industries, such as aerospace, advanced electrical and electronics, halal, the creative industry, biomass and smart farming. “These industries are identified based on their prospects in generating high value-added activities and products, advanced technology adoption, research and development and innovation, high-skilled employment as well as their contribution in achieving the green agenda, ” he said in his keynote address during a webinar yesterday. Mustapa said the successful implementation of the measures would enhance competitiveness and resilience of the economy and position Malaysia as an important player in the global supply chain for complex and high value-added products and services. “Focus will be given in attracting quality investment which promotes the development of complex products and services, create high-skilled and high-paying jobs, encourage higher use of domestic inputs, and improve development in underserved areas.” He added that expectations on the 12MP, from 2021 to 2025, are high. “I admit that formulating the plan is a daunting task. Even without the pandemic, we have been grappling with a number of structural issues. “We need bold and radical ideas, to address long outstanding issues, such as low value-added economic activities, inequitable income distribution and regional disparity.” Mustapa said the 12MP would also lay the foundation for Malaysia to recover from the pandemic. “It will chart the path to a sustainable economy, while ensuring the well-being of the rakyat, in the context of shared prosperity. We are putting emphasis on the issue of economic and institutional reforms, while making the agenda of sustainability to be more explicit, in this national development plan.” He emphasised that there is a need to move-up the value chain, adopt technology and innovation to enhance economic growth. “We need to develop an inclusive society to ensure social justice and improve the well-being of the rakyat, as well as boost environmental sustainability by implementing a clean, green and resilient development agenda and improve the efficiency of the delivery system to be more people-centric, efficient and productive.” Mustapa noted that the pandemic has placed great pressure on the need for a comprehensive and sustainable social protection system for Malaysians. “One of the key challenges facing the economy is the emergence of a new poor group as reported by the World Bank, to include those who live in congested urban settings and work in sectors most affected by lockdowns and mobility restriction, in which many of them are engaged in the informal sector. He added that this new group also includes employees in manufacturing, service, and commerce and other non-agricultural sectors, as well as the better educated group, who, compared to the existing poor, are not as educated as the non-poor. “Hence, the long-term development planning should take into consideration a larger set of households, to be considered as vulnerable groups.” The webinar was conducted by the Malaysian Economic Association, in collaboration with Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Economics and Administration.
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