MIND THE GAP On The Widening Gap Between The Rich and The Poor


The gap between the rich and the poor in Malaysia is widening, and is almost among the largest in Asia. Why is this the case despite the government’s economic policy being anchored on the framework of growth with redistribution? Is there still scope for policymakers to reduce the inequalities?

Not too long ago, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) launched its 2011 Human Development Report. I am not going to comment on Malaysia’s ranking in the Human Development Index – we are so obsessed with ranking that it is borderline fetishism – but what interested me was the title of the report: “Sustainability and Equity”. It was apt and timely.

Incidentally, the recent World Bank Malaysia Economic Monitor Report also argued for growth with equity (inclusive growth). The message to policymakers is this: economic growth must be accompanied by equitable distribution.

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