This was supposed to have come out a couple of weeks ago, but I ran out of time before leaving on a holiday. Just some quick thoughts on the 11MP:
- Overall, the 11MP underscores the shift in the government’s strategy. There’s been a gradual but noticeable shift from boosting growth to labour and social issues in the last few years. This means potentially accepting a lower rate of growth to making sure that what growth we do get is more equitably shared.
- A common thread in the commentary, and in my conversations with people on the 11MP, is the lack of detail on projects/programs in the 11MP. Thinking about it later that night, I remembered why. There’s a concurrent complaint that the annual government budgets are lacking in strategic direction, but full of projects and programs. See where I’m heading with this? The Malaysia Plans establish strategy and budget priorities; the details are contained in the annual budgets. The two should always be referenced together.
- Another complaint is that the 11MP isn’t really revolutionary. I don’t think it needs to be. The basic ideas haven’t really changed for a generation, only the emphasis. But I’m encouraged by the larger focus given to issues of inequality.
- The overall macro targets aren’t a stretch, but some of the individual policy targets are. I still don’t understand the mechanisms underlying international differences in the wage to GDP ratio, for example. Putting in a target without defining the intervention space makes achieving the target that much harder. Again, the (understandable) lack of detail on specific programs is a drawback.
- Like the 10MP but unlike all the previous Malaysia Plans, there is a stronger emphasis on outcomes and achievements. One of the issues I’ve always had with previous Malaysia Plans is the consistent lack of mention of what targets were actually met in the previous plan period. Both the 10MP and 11MP fill this transparency gap, which makes for greater accountability.
- Apart from the above, this 5 year plan hits all the right notes – productivity, inclusivity, environmental sensitivity, and even a chapter on beyond 2020. But the devil’s in the details – policy/program formulation and implementation will be key (as they always have been).