KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 30): The roles of government-linked companies (GLCs) and government-linked investment companies (GLICs) need to be re-evaluated so that existing government assets can be optimised to help strengthen the country’s infrastructure, economic recovery process and growth ahead, said former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
In his debate speech on the 12th Malaysia Plan in Parliament on Thursday, the Pagoh MP viewed that they should not compete with the private sector in order to strengthen the country's entrepreneurship, but instead invest in high-impact fields including exploring new markets locally and abroad.
As such, Muhyiddin said the government needs to focus on strengthening the sectors of the economy which give significant contributions to the gross domestic product (GDP), besides providing a conducive ecosystem to boost the recovery of Malaysia and make the country a business and investment friendly destination which has high technology and greater value-added components.
“Focus should also be given in providing job opportunities [that] cover various modern sectors such as manufacturing and services to ensure talent development and human capital meet the needs of socio-economic development, in addition to exploring new job potentials especially involving [the] gig economy and [those] that are digital technology era driven,” he said.
At the same time, the Pagoh MP said the government needs to continue being proactive under the National Employment Council (NEC) in order to achieve the target of creating 500,000 job opportunities this year.
“So far, 376,000 job seekers have managed to get jobs under government initiatives. At the beginning of the implementation of the 12MP, aggressive efforts to identify the unemployed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic should be given priority.
“[It is also] important — in our efforts to formulate strategies and proactive actions — [to] provide forms of assistance based on the reality faced [by] every rakyat today, so that all help can be channelled targetedly and meet the requirements [of] those who really need it,” he added.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin — who is also the National Recovery Council (MPN) chairman — urged the government to strengthen its financial management by improving the revenue collection system, besides applying existing laws to standardise the sales and service tax (SST) system to improve the performance of revenue tax collection.
This, he opined, can prevent leakages and non-compliance in tax payments which can affect the country’s revenue. Muhyiddin added that one of the government’s biggest challenges is to generate revenue for the country to fund more physical development and socio-economic programmes.
“The country's fiscal position requires the government to be bolder in strengthening the role of the private sector as an engine of economic growth, through efforts like public private partnership (PPP). This is because the private sector has a surplus or additional financial resources while the government has a deficit,” he said.
On a related note, Muhyiddin said the future development of Malaysia must contain major programmes or projects that can drive the country’s production growth, employment and income opportunities in the short and medium term.
“[To this end], I support the government's plan regarding the implementation of the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project to Johor Bahru, besides to the north which will connect the HSR from Bangkok to the Malaysia-Thailand border with private financing involving a domestic financial consortium.
“The impact of a project such as this will have a multiplier effect in job creation and new businesses as well as development and creation of new towns and regions along the HSR route. This of course will [also] generate additional value worth billions of ringgit and bring great benefits to the rakyat including the Bumiputera,” he said.
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