THE slew of predominantly good news with regard to our economy and the transformation agenda, tinged with a touch of realism, makes us look forward with optimism.
Be it in increased household income, improved quality of life, shrinking poverty or low inflation rate, there is no denying that more and more citizens are feeling its positive impact.
As Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak puts it, when unveiling the Pemandu report card on Tuesday, “Thanks to hard work, dedication and cooperation from all parties, a better standard and quality of life for the people had been attained with the economy progressing while government finances remained healthy.”
Granted that it is easier to look at transformed lives from the more quantifiable perspective of increased income, we must look at transformation from a wider perspective.
The Government’s push in this area, as rightly outlined by Datuk Seri Idris Jala in his column the day before the Pemandu report was presented, is that “we must develop at a pace which we can sustain over time without putting too much strain on our available resources, not rush at breakneck speed with no thought of the morrow”.
This balanced approach to development, which combines high income with sustainability and inclusiveness, is what provides us with a sense of perspective about development, the ultimate purpose of which is to improve the quality of life for everyone.
Such an approach is already bearing fruit, and Najib has every reason to rejoice over the glowing report card that listed the achievements since he took office in April 2009.
The people have benefited greatly from the national transformation policy and despite what the detractors might say, these benefits are extended and felt across all spectrum of society.
Ironically, even the most fervent critics of the Government can see that the promises made are indeed delivered.
There are, of course, the areas where we have fallen short. In education, the fight against corruption and addressing the rising cost of living, much remains to be done. Certainly there is a divide between the public perception of the crime index and what the statistics actually reveal.
Be that as it may, Malaysia is a manifestation of a successful nation, thanks to meticulous planning and effective development policies which had turned it from a progressive agriculture-based economy to a modern and industrialised middle-income nation.
And we have built from there, through the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme, to be a force to reckon with in the global economy.
The progress of the ETP, for example, is a clear-cut case of how we have maintained our country’s domestic resilience amidst external uncertainties.
Let us not forget that independent international surveys – economic, social and political – have all pointed to Malaysia being a great place to be in the global economy in 2013, based on its sterling performance over the past five years, in particular 2012.
These are views shared by the business community, analysts, fund managers and international and multinational institutions.
And they are not simply viewpoints articulated in season, but premised on hard data gathered by authoritative channels.
The figures from Bank Negara released yesterday certainly confirm that the Malaysian economy is on track to propel the country into a high-income nation.