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Knowledge-based economy key for Malaysia to reach developed nation status

PETALING JAYA: As Malaysia approaches its 63 year of independence, it needs to continue its transformation towards becoming a knowledge-based economy to achieve its status as a developed nation, according to Asia Pacific Investment Bank (APIB) CEO Chris Wang.

He stated that the country’s economic development has been stable compared to its Southeast Asian peers but several constraints remain for it to break through the middle-trap and become an advanced country.

For instance, Malaysia does not have a large consumer base such as the US, China and Japan to help propel the country to become an advanced nation.

“There has always been only one option for a small country like Malaysia to achieve such a goal, which is to develop a knowledge-based economy that possesses advanced knowledge, instead of relying only on natural resources, that is unique and valuable,” Wang said in a statement today.

For a knowledge-based economy, he pointed out that education, research and development are its main sectors, while talent and human resources are the most important assets.

In addition, a key driver behind a knowledge-based economy is an open financial market that could help the country attract talents, encourage development and innovation.

The CEO highlighted an open financial market could be achieved through continuous development and further opening of Malaysia’s Islamic finance.

“It is vital for Malaysia to open up its Islamic financial market further to attract talents and encourage technological advancement. It will benefit the service and manufacturing industries of the country,” he explained.

In regards to strategic planning of the economy, Wang lauded the efforts made by the government and expressed that the APIB wants to assist the country to open up its Islamic finance industry further.

He noted that the objectives of Malaysia’s economic planning are clear but there is room for adjustment particularly in terms of Islamic finance and capital market openness.

“For instance, the country should give full support to foreign Islamic entities including financial companies to enter its capital market. We believe this will allow more high technology businesses and innovative companies to set up their bases here.”

APIB noted that there are many foreign enterprises from China and elsewhere looking for cross-border investment and opportunities to enter the Islamic market to which Malaysia is in a good position to attract these companies and bring their advanced science and technological knowledge and capital into the country.

Furthermore, with the adoption of Industry 4.0 by countries and businesses worldwide, the existence of high-tech enterprises will support such a transformation process.

Wang stated that the Islamic finance industry is at a turning point and the industry players need to speak its mind and voice its demand for the industry to open up further.

“When this happens, it will attract worldwide attention,” he said.


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