Building Malaysia’s Middle Class

Growth and distribution are like two propellers on an aircraft. Growth without distribution would spell trouble for the aircraft because demand would not be broad-based and may not be sufficient to sustain long-term growth, and failure to distribute adequately may also spell non-economic troubles that may threaten the prospect of growth.

In this same breath, I’d like to offer a vision for Malaysia’s future: Society’s income distribution will transition from its current triangle shape, which is large at the bottom, into a more equitable diamond structure, anchored in the centre by a strong and stable middle class.

But the most important tool for distribution is not welfare. It is jobs — decently paid jobs. These jobs will hopefully allow Malaysians to afford more than just basic necessities and to enjoy good quality of life.

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