Malaysia – High quality jobs and investments will enable Malaysians to enjoy a higher standard of living and also enable them to have higher savings, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
“How do we plan to rebuild savings, it has got to do with incomes. There is no shortcut, we cannot simply top up using government resources, so it’s got to come from somewhere and that somewhere will be jobs, quality jobs,” he said at a webinar titled “Malaysia Economic Direction — What to Expect Next” hosted by UOB Kay Hian Wealth Advisors today.
He said this in response to a question on how to address the low savings rate of Malaysians, especially those who had withdrawn from their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“That is why investments will play an important role, not only foreign but domestic investors as well. We have to be more aggressive in attracting quality investments,” he said, pointing to past successes in states like Penang, Johor, and Sarawak where different sectors like electrical and electronics and oil and gas have boomed.
“In short, you have to increase skills, you got to bring in quality investments, you got to train more people, we got to move out from low paying operations, it’s got to do with minimum wages as well,” he added.
Income growth will also be key to ensure Malaysia can achieve 30 per cent Bumiputera equity ownership compared to 17.2 per cent in 2019, he said, adding that it can be done by savings through Bumiputera institutions such as Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) and Lembaga Tabung Haji, and development institutions such as Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara).
“Again, to do that, we have to increase their income by improving their knowledge and skills, so that they could save more in funds like ASB (Amanah Saham Bumiputera) or Tabung Haji,” he said.