LAST Tuesday evening Prime Minister Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak presented a progress report of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) that is intended to set the nation on course to become a developed, high income economy by 2020. The ETP is anchored on the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) that has a number of enabling action plans designed to propel the ETP.
According to Najib's 'report card', most of the goals have been met.
"The results can be seen in our standard of living and better quality of life; the economy is prospering, while the government's financial situation continues to flourish. We have come a long way but the journey is far from complete," he said.
In this respect, Najib reported that the nation's progress can be seen in the per capita GDP that has grown from US$257 in 1957 to US$9,970 last year. He said that this is nearly 4,000 per cent increase in more than five decades.
"Based on the Household Income Survey in 2012, the improvement of the people's quality of life has rose from RM4,025 in 2009 to RM5,000 in 2012," he said.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that the poverty rate continued to decline from over sixty percent at the beginning of National independence to 1.7 percent in 2012.
The brainchild of Najib, the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) was implemented under the purview of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu). There are seven National Key Result Areas Under the GTP. These areas are to tackle the people's cost of living, reduce crimes, fight corruption, improve education quality, upgrade rural development and improve urban public transport and the living standard of low-income earners.
He disclosed that under the NKRA, the government has taken several initiatives that focus on the people's welfare and development.
Some of the initiatives are 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) to more that six million people which cost the nation about RM2.34 billion, and a further RM524 million for 5.24 million students.
The government is concerned about the rising cost of living and has thus allocated RM37.8 billion to finance various welfare related programmes, such as RM22.3 billion for various types of subsidies, RM873.5 million for incentives and RM14.6 billion dollars for aid.
In the area of raising the people's standard of living, a total of 106,967 people were registered under the Azam Kerja, Azam Niaga, Azam Khidmat and Azam Tani programmes and thousands of people have benefited from the micro financing through Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, TEKUN Nasional and Yayasan Usaha Maju.
He said that the government has also launched the Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia to provide affordable housing and Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia to ensure that the people can buy essential goods at lower prices.
To enable more children to go to preschools Najib also reported that the enrolment of preschoolers, reached 770,000 or 80 per cent of the age group last year compared with 67 per cent in 2009.
Najib said the Government has also increased the tempo of rural development by constructing 3,300km of roads, and provided clean water to 1.4 million households and electricity to 470,000 homes.
"The government has been building and repairing 53,000 houses for the poor in rural area. This involves more than 266,000 households or nearly one million people. Indeed, the whole initiative has improved the well-being of nearly 4 million Malaysians living in rural areas," he said.
Najib also disclosed that the tourism sector has also achieved great progress. He said in 2011 and 2012, tourist arrivals numbered about 50 million people bringing a gross national income of RM100 billion. In the plantation sector, approximately 113,000 hectares of oil palm were planted.
Najib said the private sector showed its growing confidence in the national transformation initiatives and has exceeded its investment value by RM139.5 billion, driven by high capital expenditure in the manufacturing, services and mining sectors. Private sector investment is important as it influences the economic growth rate, he said.
Najib said the global community recognised Malaysia's achievements, as indicated by the accolades the country received, including being ranked the 12th most business friendly nation, topping the list in terms of providing access to credit facilities, according to the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report 2013.
He also noted that Malaysia was the 14th most competitive nation by the Institute for Management Development's World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012 survey, while the foreign direct investment confidence index survey by AT Kearney puts it on the 10th spot.
Having presented his glowing report on the ETP Najib called upon the nation to " build a brighter future for all, a future that promises happiness for all." - Insight Sabah