Public-Private Sector Cooperation for Development in Malaysia MUHAMMAD RAIS BIN ABDUL KARIM, Malaysian Administrative Modernization and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) Prime Minister’s Department Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Introduction MALAYSIA’S GROWING competitive edge in the world economy was underscored in The 1995 World Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum and the International Institute of Management based in Geneva. Malaysia ranked as the 21 st most competitive in the world from among 48 countries surveyed and placed third highest among non-Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, having done remarkably well in many of the eight criteria used to evaluate ‘World Competitiveness’: domestic economic strength, internationalization, government, finance, infrastructure, management, science and technology, and the people. It is worthy to note that in the sphere of government, Malaysia placed fourth overall and third in the Asian region while in the area of transparency, Malaysia was ranked first in the world. Malaysia’s record of achievement noted above could not have taken place without the public and private sectors, as well as non-government organizations (NGOs) and the Academia playing their respective roles in pursuit of national development whether individually, jointly and severally, based on mutual understanding, cooperation, trust and confidence. In general, both the public and the private sectors should be credited for transforming a largely poor and agrarian economy less than four decades ago to a prospering, strong, and competitive industrial base on the threshold of becoming a fully developed nation as the country moves into the 21st century. Public-Private Sector Cooperation for Development: The Malaysian Experience With today’s global environment becoming more and more competitive, Malaysia as a country which depends on international trade to generate its earnings has all the more reason to sharpen its competitive edge. While the Civil Service is widely acknowledged as an important player in the country’s aspirations to push for international competitiveness, the government believes only a firm partnership between the public (i.e., the government and the Civil Service) and the private sectors can ensure realizing this national dream. Through close cooperation and collaboration, the public and private sectors can pool together their scarce resources, skills, technology and all other critical factors to strive for optimal growth and development and hence sustain the competitive edge needed to preserve or even better Malaysia’s role in the international economy. Realizing the benefits that the country can derive from such close intersectoral cooperation, the Malaysian Government introduced in 1983 a new concept in its vocabulary of national development: ‘Malaysia Incorporated’. Representing a new approach to national
Asian Review of Public Administration, Vol. VIII, No. 1 (July-December 1996)
ASIAN REVIEW OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
development, the concept calls for closer cooperation and collaboration between the public and the private sectors and perceives the nation as a ‘corporate’ or ‘business entity’ jointly owned by both sectors. As partners in development as well as corporate shareholders, both sectors must work closely with each other and develop mutual understanding to ensure successfully managing the national economy. The concept is based on the philosophy that public-private sector cooperation is a key ingredient for successful national economic development. The rationale for seeking such closer cooperation and collaboration lies in the recognition of the inherent interdependence between the public and private sectors. The private sector forms the commercial and economic arm of the nation, while the public sector provides the major policy framework and direction to...