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Jump-starting Malaysia’s growth: An interview with Idris Jala

Posted: Wednesday 2 November 11, 10.39am GMT

A leading official discusses early lessons from his country’s big transformation effort.

Malaysia has made considerable progress but remains a middle-income country and was struggling to achieve its aspiration of becoming a high-income nation by 2020.

To jump-start the effort, Malaysia announced in January 2010 its Government Transformation Programme (GTP), aimed at delivering big results fast in the public services that were most important to the people. An Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), a road map to lead Malaysia to high-income status by 2020, followed in October 2010. The program targets annual growth of 6 percent and a doubling of gross national income (GNI) per capita, to $15,000, thus meeting the World Bank standard for a high-income country.

To lead the effort, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak named Idris Jala as a minister and chief executive officer of the newly constituted Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU). Jala, 53 years old, brought to the government a background in turnarounds, a skill he burnished in his business career at the oil company Shell and at Malaysia Airlines. Almost two years into his new role, Jala recently discussed with McKinsey’s Eoin Daly and Seelan Singham the GTP and the ETP and their early impact on the country.

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