At the time I write this, Malaysians are still on tenterhooks as to when the next elections will be held – will it be in March, or April, or after Hari Raya? Your guess is as good as mine!
But the positive thing about upcoming elections is the interest it stirs in national policies, particularly economic policies, with writers and analysts providing numbers and opinions on the past, present, and future of the Malaysian economy. Not many Malaysians appreciate Malaysia’s extensive economic plans. Since 1956, when the First Malaya Plan was formulated, our nation has faithfully adhered to the five-year economic planning model, and added to it longer-term policy frameworks such as the Outline Perspective Plans and the New Economic Model. While plans are subject to change, and ours are no exception, Malaysia’s economic plans have served us well in guiding major policies as well as setting big-picture directions and targets.
Will five-year economic plans still be as relevant in a decade’s time?
It’s difficult to say. Technology has increased the rate of change, and shorter planning horizons may be the order of the day as our data-crunching and analytical abilities increase. But even if the definition of “long-term” and “medium-term” changes, a nation will still need to rely on plans and projections, and for these, past data are necessary references.
To aid researchers and policy planners, Perdana Leadership Foundation has gathered together data for all of the nation’s economic plans, beginning from the First Malaya Plan of 1956 under the leadership of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, our Bapa Kemerdekaan, right up to the present 11th Malaysia Plan, under Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak. The information is housed under our Visual Timeline Series that’s available for free on our website.
PLF also engaged with other leaders to add to our repository of knowledge. One such leader is former Minister, Tan Sri Leo Moggie, and our conversation with him is now published in a book, simply titled “A Conversation with Tan Sri Leo Moggie”. I encourage Malaysians to read this slim volume for a wider appreciation of Sarawak politics and what the Malaysian political landscape was like in the 60s and 70s. We will continue to publish transcripts under our Oral History series, and three upcoming ones will be our conversations with Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Tan Sri Arshad Ayub, and Tan Sri Ambrin Buang.
Our resident fellows, too, have completed their work and we can look forward to reading up on Islamic Banking policies as well as Malay views of the West by Professor Dr. Abdul Ghafar Ismail and Professor Dato’ Dr Ahmad Murad Merican, respectively.
As of December 2017, our Perdana Library holdings number more than half a million digitised records, with more than half of them available online, consisting of speeches of our past Prime Ministers, book excerpts, and news clippings, as well as 11,000 physical titles. We build this archive with an eye to the future, with the hope that the archive we are building will also serve as a useful resource for present and potential leaders of the country.
This message was first published in Perdana Magazine 2017.