Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 (Bernama) – New policies and incentives must be formulated to encourage both domestic and foreign private investments for the newly minted Economic Action Council (EAC) to achieve its aim of stimulating sustainable growth.
Asli Centre for Public Policy Study Chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said this would call for more encouragement of the private sector to invest, with reduced protection to local industries and a smaller role for government involvement in business.
“The government-linked companies, for example, have to play a lesser role in the economy. Foreign investors also have to be fully consulted and allowed more liberal access to invest in our markets,” he said in a statement today.
However, he said all these new investments must be subject to more stringent sustainable development environmental policies and guidelines to be able to attract better quality investment that will not damage the economy and cost much more to clean up in the future.
Meanwhile, to attain the goal of equitable wealth distribution, he said the government could widen the welfare grants and safety net to the poor, providing more basic needs like housing, health and transport for this group.
To achieve the objective of enhancing the wellbeing of the people, Ramon said the government needed to shift its emphasis on economic and gross domestic product growth and move towards a Happiness Index evaluation to measure the people’s wellbeing.
“We need to find out what makes the people happier. Here again, it’s the provision of more of their basic needs, and stronger efforts are necessary to reduce the cost of living. Then, we go back to wiping out corruption, improve governance, cut wastage of public funds, and develop moderate lifestyles.
“Efficiencies and a culture of meritocracy and competition should be encouraged more by the EAC in all its new policies,” he added.
While the public will be encouraged and excited by the formation of EAC, Ramon said the government must exert full political will to deliver action fast on the objectives.
“Otherwise, public expectations would rise for now but then fall quickly as disappointment will set in and the national feel mood and happiness will decline,” he said.