Malaysia has grown by leaps and bounds in her 55 years since independence. Our economy, dubbed as one of the ‘Tiger Cub economies’ has shown tremendous promise over the course of our short history.
Most recently, it was reported that we recorded a 5.2% GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2011 as opposed to the projected median of 4.8%. That in itself is a noteworthy achievement in light of current economic climate.
And Malaysia has always braved downturns with our own kind of boldness, just like we did in the 1997 Asian financial crisis. With the many strict regulatory steps taken like pegging the ringgit to the dollar, refusing IMF aid and the regimented capital control measures; Malaysia enjoyed faster economic recovery compared to its neighbours. The country has recovered to the levels of the pre-crisis era and the economy has since returned to growth, albeit at a slower but more sustainable pace.
With the economic prosperity Malaysia has enjoyed over the years, there have also been many achievements with regards to our socioeconomic well-being.
According to official data, the percentage of Malaysian households living below poverty line has been reduced from 49.3% in 1970 to 15% in 1990, and in 2009 overall poverty had been reduced to 3.8%.
The real mean income of the bottom 40% of those in Peninsular Malaysia increased from $76 in 1970 to $421 in 1990. Figures from Sabah showed an increase from $68 to $390 and in Sarawak, mean income rose from $74 to $436.
Those who suffer from hardcore poverty, who get less than half of the income on the poverty line, was reduced to 4% of total households in 1990. In 2008 the recorded percentage of hardcore poor was 1.8%.
That millions of families were alleviated from the clutches of poverty and that our economy has remained strong and growing steadily – I say, this is one of the nice things we Malaysians enjoy.