KUCHING - Malaysia must be ready for disruptive change by adjusting its policies to meet the changing circumstances, says Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister cautioned that the country would lose its competitive edge and be overtaken if it was not well prepared.
“We cannot and must not allow that. We knew that if we are to achieve our goal of becoming a high-income nation by 2020, we had to make changes. And that is true leadership,” he said when opening the 13th World Islamic Economic Forum themed “Disruptive Change: Impact and Challenges” yesterday.
Najib said governments must be responsive to disruptive change, sometimes by instigating it, citing Malaysia’s introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
“We knew it wouldn’t be popular. But it would have been irresponsible not to have brought in GST.
“It’s not just that we needed to widen the tax base, which is one reason why over 160 countries around the world have a form of GST. It is also that with the plunge in the price of oil, GST saved us,” he said.
Najib accused the Opposition of deceiving the people and “deploying fantasy economics” by pledging to remove GST.
He said governments in the present day could not stand still and keep doing things the old way.
“Responsible governments must change policies as circumstances change,” he added.
The PM also said that the education system must be revamped to prepare the country for a rapidly changing world.
He said the young must be equipped with higher order thinking skills to become open-minded, creative, innovative and ready to adapt to jobs of the future.
“The crux is the right kind of education and we must never lose sight of the necessity to adequately prepare our youth for a world which is transforming faster than we could ever have imagined,” he added.