By Shannon Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 – The Performance Management and Implementation Unit (PEMANDU) has insisted that its ambitious Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) was developed accurately despite assertions by a local think-tank that the government agency’s figures do not add up.
The unit within the Prime Minister’s Department launched the ETP in September 2010 with the stated target of doubling per capita income from RM23,700 in 2009 to RM48,000 in 2020.
But the DAP-linked Research for Social Advancement (REFSA) began publishing a series of studies on Pemandu at the end of last month and has claimed that Pemandu’s projections are faulty.
The report, authored by political analyst Ong Kian Ming and Teh Chi Chang, who was previously economic advisor to DAP, said that based on PEMANDU’s six per cent real growth target and 2.8 per cent inflation forecast, per capita gross national income (GNI) in 2020 should hit RM54,145 instead.
“Because of inflation, nominal GNI per capita growth averaged 8.2 per cent from 2001-2010. At the historical average 8.2 per cent per year growth rate, nominal incomes will exceed RM48,000 by 2018 anyway, with or without the ETP or PEMANDU,” part 2 of “A Critique of the ETP” said.
But PEMANDU responded saying that “we stand by the fact that the ETP Roadmap was developed with thought and input from a wide base of expertise and as the intention is to make Malaysia globally competitive, international benchmarks were used.”
“We do not agree with the assertions, interpretation and findings in this article. Instead of responding on a piece meal basis, we will only produce a full and robust rebuttal upon the publishing of the full series,” it said in a blog posting.
REFSA had further insisted that for real income to double by 2020, “nominal income must be RM64,000 by then, to compensate for the 2.8 per cent per year inflation that PEMANDU expects.”
According to PEMANDU, real GNI growth must average six per cent until 2020 and with private investment jumping by 12.8 per cent over the next five years in order to achieve the ETP’s targets.
Over the 10 years leading up to 2020, the ETP aims to pour RM1.4 trillion worth of investment into the economy to create 3.3 million new jobs via 113 Entry-Point Projects (EPP).
PEMANDU says 92 per cent of this investment will come from the private sector (with GLCs investing 32 per cent) and eight per cent will come from the public sector.
But in part 3 of the report, REFSA said PEMANDU had included projects already underway before ETP’s launch as part of the 113 EPPS.
It said the Johor Premium Outlets and the six-star St Regis Hotel in Kuala Lumpur were announced in 2009 and 2008 respectively, before PEMANDU had even begun its “lab” brainstorming sessions in 2010.
By including these projects as part of the ETP, “the “hothouse” labs would have favoured incumbents with existing business plans rather than entrepreneurs with transformative ideas,” REFSA said.