Malaysia is still on track to achieve high-income nation status by 2020, said PEMANDU Associates Sdn Bhd president and chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala. “If our exports are going to do better despite the reduction in the global economy, then it will bode well for us,” said Idris after the launch of a new report titled Driving Performance from the center: Malaysia’s Experience with PEMANDU. “Although we are a small country, our total trade, which includes exports and imports, is bigger than our whole gross domestic product,” said Idris.

He, however, noted his concerns about the strengthening of the US dollar and the global economy slowdown. When asked if the weaker ringgit has been taken into consideration in the target to achieve high-income nation status, Idris said: “We have taken into account the current exchange rate.”

He added that Malaysia would have achieved a high-income nation status by 2015 if the ringgit had stayed at RM3.20 against the US dollar in 2010.

According to the latest available data from the World Bank, Malaysia’s gross national income per capita as at 2015 was US$10,570, which is 15% short of the current high-income threshold of US$12,475.

TEM