While this year has not been an easy one for local businesses and our economy, it has definitely brought Malaysians together and showcased the best in us
When the Movement Control Order (MCO) first began in March, big businesses stepped up to help small local vendors connect with buyers online.
Brands like Lazada and Maybank made it possible for farmers in Cameron Highlands to distribute their fresh produce and flowers. Tech platform Storehub launched Beep Delivery, which helped F&B outlets set up their own online store conveniently.
Stories of #KitaJagaKita also surfaced across the Internet, whether it was Facebook groups popping up to support local businesses or generous Malaysians who came together to raise funds for those in need.
As the host nation for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) this year, it's no coincidence that the main value championed by Malaysia this year is "Shared Prosperity"
APEC 2020 is a regional economic forum involving 21 economies, with the goal of creating greater prosperity for the region.
“Shared Prosperity” means protecting the well-being of every Malaysian, while granting them equal access to wealth. Overall, the vision is to make Malaysia an economy that achieves sustainable growth and fair distribution across income groups, ethnicities, regions, and supply chains.
This year, we've seen local businesses going the extra mile to help each other out, displaying the true spirit of "Shared Prosperity". With the same goal in mind, APEC 2020 is also doing its part by hosting more than 50 virtual meetings with key economic leaders to tackle a variety of topics, including growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), tourism, and the impact of COVID-19.
To take things one step further, we asked Malaysians what they hope to see in our nation's economy. Here's what they said:
1. "What I want to see is a national income growth that is consistent with the cost of living"
"I hope to see an economy with lower unemployment rates and better pay. By bridging the income gap and providing equal opportunities, this will result in a better standard of living, especially for the lower- and middle-income groups.
This in turn will boost our economy and increase spending. SMEs and micro businesses will also be able to contribute more to the GDP through growth, innovation, and a bigger labour force."
- Timothy, 22
2. "It would be nice for workers in lower income brackets to enjoy better welfare"
"One thing I hope to see is for Malaysians, especially workers in the M40 and B40 groups, to experience a higher quality of life without having to sacrifice as much as they do right now.
I believe that if everyone in the T20 category can take action, even in the smallest degree, it would be a big step towards helping those in lower income brackets achieve 'Shared Prosperity'."
- Hilman, 27
3. "I want to see people given the opportunity to break out of poverty"
"It's really not fair that some people have to struggle their entire lives, without an opportunity to break free from the poverty cycle. Especially for those in the B40 category, it's really hard for them to overcome the odds and progress in a career.
While 'Shared Prosperity' sounds good, I think we can still do a lot more in this area. Hopefully there will be more policies or practical steps to help these communities to succeed in life."
- Dhia, 26
4. "I hope to see Malaysia having a stronger and more diverse economy"
"Malaysia has been blessed with many natural resources, suitable climate, and a highly trained workforce. I hope that instead of being overly dependent on oil and gas export, we will put in sufficient effort to grow other sectors.
On top of that, I believe that with 'Shared Prosperity' every Malaysian will have equal opportunity to acquire wealth and pursue their dreams. It will foster a change of mindset and hopefully eradicate the 'subsidy mentality' that some Malaysians still have."
- Koy Yew, 30
5. "It's time for Malaysia to become global leaders beyond the traditional industries of rubber, palm oil, and electrical & electronics"
"Right now, Malaysia is still very concentrated on traditional industries, when we should be pushing boundaries in highly specialised areas like robotics, AI, genetics, astronomy, and marine biology.
With a more diverse economy, we will reduce brain drain problems and allow Malaysians with specific interests and talents to find opportunities in their home country. This is an important first step for the 'Shared Prosperity' vision. It will also give an opportunity for Malaysia to become a global leader in more areas too."
- Ronn, 35
All in all, having a "Shared Prosperity" is something that can only happen when we all work together
From policy makers and government agencies, to entrepreneurs and everyday Malaysians, we need the support of everyone to become a nation with "Shared Prosperity".
Along with the 21 member economies, Malaysia as the host of APEC 2020 is doing its part to pursue this vision. From helping SMEs remain resilient and navigating international trade, to pushing for digitalisation and sustainability, APEC 2020 is committed to helping the region to weather through the economic impact of the global pandemic.
Find out more about APEC 2020 and the initiatives discussed that could help bolster our economy. Visit their website today!