KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the international community today that “no Malaysian will be left behind” in Putrajaya’s quest for development.
Najib told the ninth edition of the World Urban Forum (WUF9) here that his administration’s development policies have been ranked “the most inclusive” in South-east Asia, pointing to its cheap healthcare, massive investment in public transport and zero-rated tax for basic goods.
“What we want is a just and inclusive development where no Malaysian is left behind,” Najib said in his opening address.
“For that our development has been ranked as the most inclusive in South-east Asia,” he added.
The WUF9 is a United Nations initiative set up in 2002 to discuss, conceptualise and plan sustainable urban developments.
The first WUF conference led to the development of the New Urban Agenda, a guideline for sustainable urban policies.
It was formally adopted at Quito in 2016 and Malaysia is among the signatories.
The world’s urban population is expected to almost double by 2050, with cities hosting close to 70 per cent of the globe’s population.
This growth is concentrated mainly in Asia and Africa, with Asia projected to have more than half of the world’s mega cities.
Currently, Malaysia has an urbanisation rate of almost 75 per cent and is expected to reach more than two-thirds by 2050.
Najib said today the government has put all the right policies in place to ensure the country manages the rural-urban transition well.
“We are helped by the fact that our economic fundamentals are strong, and the Economic Transformation Programme my government put in place in 2010 has delivered 2.26 million jobs, over one million of which were high-income jobs,” he said.
“Inflation and unemployment have been kept low. We have brought the deficit down from 6.7 per cent in 2009 to 3 per cent last year.
“Thanks to strong, pro-active measures, we recovered quickly from the global crisis of 2008 to 2009, and we have had years of healthy growth,” he added.
Najib also cited a World Bank report that said “the Malaysian economy is progressing from a position of strength”.