PEMANDU as catalyst for progress
PEMANDU CEO Idris Jala shares the inspiration that drives Malaysia's economic and government transformation.
What is PEMANDU's role in establishing Malaysia as a self-sufficient, industrialised economy?
We created PEMANDU as a catalyst for transformation. PEMANDU is a corporation within the prime minister's department, indicating the clear support of Malaysia's No 1 man. I was hired to develop a programme to help transform the government so it can deliver products and services that citizens expect from government. Improving service delivery creates conditions for competitiveness. This will fuel Malaysia's transformation into a high-income nation.
How are the ETP and GTP different from other government reform initiatives?
The programmes are about actions. They are changing the conditions and the character of the Malaysian economy. They are positive and holistic programmes.
We focus on the positive side of things because no country became a high-income nation by being negative. We have had many positive developments. Our gross domestic product and gross national income last year reached record highs and continue to grow. We broke many records last year - highest investment in 10 years, highest revenues, highest trade numbers.
What measures have been established to address the issue of accountability to the public?
We want it to be fully transparent to the public. When you provide detailed information of what is to be expected, you have no choice but to do it because you have made a commitment. Now that we have laid out the map, we have to deliver.
In addition, we publish an annual report every year. It clearly lays out our targets and achievements for the year. These are on a quantitative basis, so there is no running away from the numbers.
What fundamental strategies can you impart to other countries seeking to emulate a similar developmental path?
We applied what we learned from other countries with successful transformations such as Singapore, the United States and Britain. There are two crucial things to keep in mind. The first lesson: focus. It means they cannot do everything and they cannot be good at everything. They must learn to hone their strengths.
The second area is creating conditions for competitiveness, which lifts barriers in domestic and international businesses. If we pretend to be good in everything, we will not make it. But if we do not create conditions for competitiveness, we will not make it, too.