Malaysia’s Prime Minister unveiled the Twelfth Malaysia Plan on 27 September 2021. According to the executive summary states, the Twelfth Plan is anchored on three key themes, namely resetting the economy, strengthening security, wellbeing and inclusivity as well as advancing sustainability.
Four catalytic policy enablers, namely developing future talent, accelerating technology adoption and innovation, enhancing connectivity and transport infrastructure as well as strengthening the public service will support the achievement of these themes.
These policy enablers will form the foundation and building blocks of Malaysia’s development over the next five years and beyond.
Theme 1: Resetting the Economy
Theme 1 focuses on restoring the growth momentum of key economic sectors and propelling strategic and high impact industries as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to realign growth in a sustainable trajectory as well as strengthening Malaysia’s position in the global supply chain. Malaysia will move to high value-added and high-skilled economic activities and set its sight on becoming a high-income nation driven by advanced technology.
Over the next five years, the Government will work to rejuvenate all the economic sectors, namely services, manufacturing, agriculture, mining and quarrying as well as construction.
Accelerating the development of eight strategic and high impact industries and activities, namely electrical and electronics (E&E), global services (GS), aerospace, creative, tourism, halal, smart farming and biomass will also receive major focus. In addition, efforts will be undertaken to strengthen MSMEs participation in the economy and boosting entrepreneurial capabilities.
Theme 2: Strengthening Security, Wellbeing and Inclusivity
Theme 2 will focus on strengthening security, wellbeing and inclusivity. Healthcare service delivery will remain a focus in increasing the health status of the populace. Endeavours to improve preparedness in battling various diseases and the expansion of healthcare coverage will be continued. The supply of quality affordable housing will be increased by improving access to affordable housing and governance as well as ensuring inclusive housing development. Moreover, efforts to accelerate the development of regions and states, as well as narrow the development gap between rural and urban areas for greater inclusion, will be intensified.
Theme 3: Advancing Sustainability
Theme 3 focuses on advancing green growth as well as enhancing energy sustainability and transforming the water sector. The next five years will see a nationwide shift to more sustainable economic practices and lifestyles that value natural endowments and environmental health.
This shift will address the issues of climate change, unsustainable consumption and production practices, loss of biodiversity, lack of coherence in the implementation of policies and inefficient water resources management. In the Twelfth Plan, green growth will be augmented to achieve sustainability and resilience.
The Four Policy Enablers of the Twelfth Plan
The achievement of targets set under the three themes of resetting the economy, strengthening security, wellbeing and inclusivity, as well as advancing sustainability are supported by four catalytic policy enablers focused on developing future talent, accelerating technology adoption and innovation, enhancing connectivity and transport infrastructure as well as strengthening the public service.
Developing future talent
The growth targets of the Twelfth Plan will require the development of highly skilled talent to support the demands of a growing economy. Among the key initiatives for realigning the labour market are promoting equitable CE and labour participation, as well as strengthening labour market support. In addition, elevating the quality of education and leveraging emerging technologies will be the key initiatives to improve the education and training system.
Accelerating technology adoption and innovation
The Twelfth Plan will accelerate Malaysia’s adoption and application of digital and advanced technology to create and unlock new opportunities. This will maximise the potential of the digital economy as well as achieve inclusive, responsible and sustainable socio-economic growth.
The talent and skills required to drive both the digital economy and 4IR will be enhanced, while R&D&C&I will be intensified. Malaysia will also aggressively attract investment in the digital economy to become the regional leader. The focus will be on mainstreaming digitalisation for inclusive development, accelerating R&D&C&I as well as capitalising on the potential of advanced technology.
Enhancing connectivity and transport infrastructure
Provision of efficient and inclusive transportation and logistics infrastructure will continue to be the focus by enhancing access to public transport, improving trade facilitation as well as strengthening the institutional and regulatory framework.
Strengthening the public service
Transforming the public service through the whole-of-government approach will be the game changer in ensuring a more efficient and effective public service delivery as well as optimising existing resources.
Selected Targets of the Twelfth Plan
During the Twelfth Plan, the global economy is expected to regain momentum as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. World trade is expected to grow by 5.3% per annum, mainly supported by better trade performance of emerging markets and developing economies.
In tandem with the global economic recovery, the Malaysian economy is expected to grow between 4.5% and 5.5% per annum, resulting in a higher GNI per capita of RM57,882 or US$14,842 in 2025.
Efforts to accelerate productivity will continue under the Twelfth Plan, which will contribute to higher labour productivity growth. A focus will be placed on gearing up for the 4IR, providing an enabling environment for the digital economy, intensifying R&D&C&I as well as developing the required talent.
Overall, the Twelfth Plan focuses on the strategic priorities that will transform Malaysia. It is a critical compass for Malaysia during this time of unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and global economic uncertainty. It is within this context that the Plan strives to bring about sustainable economic recovery as well as provide better social protection to vulnerable segments of society.