Malaysia needs technology, innovation for high-income status

Liew Chin Tong says the economy needs to climb the technological ladder for Malaysia to become a high-income nation.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia needs to become a more technologically driven society if it is to become a high-income nation by 2028, said investment, trade and industry (Miti) deputy minister Liew Chin Tong today.

He emphasised that to climb the technological ladder, Malaysia needs to become a more technology-based society.

“Foreign direct investment (FDI) is important, but we need to the infusion of technology and a move towards innovation,” he said at the East Asia & Pacific Chief Economist panel discussion.

Asked when Malaysia could achieve high-income status, Liew said the World Bank’s measurement of US$15,000 (RM70,797) gross national income per capita is “within reach”.

However, he said that it’s not just about hitting a numerical target but transforming the economy into a dynamic, vibrant, and technologically advanced one.

Reflecting on past aspirations, Liew noted that in 1994, Malaysia aspired to match the technological progress of South Korea or Taiwan.

“We are still asking the same question, whether we can be a lot more like South Korea or Taiwan in terms of technology.

“Today, China has leapfrogged in terms of technology and they are also now an innovator. We have to be an innovator, but in order to be an innovator, we need to infuse technology,” he said.

Liew also highlighted the importance of the Madani economic framework, which aims to elevate Malaysia’s economic status by fostering technological advancements.

“For the first time in many years, we have a clear economic policy framework. This framework is about raising both the ceiling and the floor.

“We want the Malaysian economy to climb the technological ladder, to become a much richer, but at the same time, a much more technologically driven society,” he added.

World Bank lead economist for Malaysia Apurva Sanghi said Malaysia would reach high-income status by 2028-2029.

He said one of the factors that determine the high-income threshold for the country is the Malaysia-US dollar exchange rate.

“Had the ringgit/USD maintained at RM4.00 to a dollar in 2020, Malaysia would have reached high income today,” he added.


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