PUTRAJAYA, Sept 14 — The Shared Prosperity Vision is an effort to close the gap between the rich and the poor, urban and rural as well as worker income, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Speaking at a media conference after chairing a special Cabinet meeting on Shared Prosperity Vision at Perdana Putra here today, Dr Mahathir said that today’s discussion papers had been agreed in principle and would be submitted at the next Cabinet meeting for verification as Cabinet papers.
“For three hours, we discuss extensively and debated. This show how serious we are,” he told the media conference which was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Cabinet ministers.
Dr Mahathir said under the vision, the government will give more priority to result compared to opportunities.
Dr Mahathir said Cabinet ministers generally agreed that there are disparities between states.
“Some states are very wealthy while some are poor. We have to reduce the gap between rich and poor states.
“This means focus would be given to poor states. If possible the government would like to improve their income,” he said.
Asked which states were categorised as poor, Dr Mahathir listed states such as Kelantan, Perlis and Kedah.
Dr Mahathir said there is also an income gap between urban and rural areas with the urban areas being generally richer even though there is poverty in urban areas as well.
“A programme must be set up to raise the income of rural areas,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said there are significant gaps between the rich and the poor where the poor are found to be extremely poor compared to the rich.
“The rich, for example may be an executive of a company who can earn two to three million annually compared to low ranking workers who earn much less. The disparity is very great,” he said.
To improve the standard of lower-income workers, the Prime Minister said it is not just through raising their salaries but to raise the capability of workers to become more productive.
“Give them training so that they have a greater capacity to be more efficient and carry out more sophisticated tasks,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) has an important role to improve the capacity and skills of workers and as such the government would give priority to TVET.
“When we decide on a certain priority, the national budget will also focus on the priority,” he said and added that if the government does not have sufficient funds, the budget for non-priority sectors would be reduced so as to raise the allocation for those with priority.
Under the Shared Prosperity Vision, Dr Mahathir stressed that the government will only select those who are really eligible to be given government contracts.
“Now, we do not allow sales of whatever contracts or licenses or AP (Approved Permit) from the government. No more selling to anybody.
“On the other hand, we will determine that the people to be awarded contracts or AP or licenses are really eligible.
“If he is not eligible, has no money, no skills, does not know the business, and if he is suddenly given a contract, he will not achieve the objective in the end. We now have the objective that in the end, we will achieve the target,” he said.
Meanwhile, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the spirit of Shared Prosperity Vision would be imbued in Budget 2020 which will be tabled in Parliament on October 11 with priority to areas like TVET and skills training.
According to him, Shared Prosperity is a vision which will start from the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) and 13th Malaysia Plan (13MP) for 10 years.
Considerations relating to Shared Prosperity Vision to be inserted in Budget 2020 would be fine-tuned by the Finance Ministry, said Mohamed Azmin.
In May, Dr Mahathir introduced the new vision known as Shared Prosperity Vision with the objective of providing a reasonable standard of living for all Malaysians in the effort to develop the country.
The vision is an effort to enable Malaysia to continue sustainable development in line with equitable economic distribution for each level of the value chain, class, race and geography to create a sense of harmony and stability among the people by 2030.
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