The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has now placed Malaysia in the Very High Human Development Category. This is under the Human Development Index (HDI) for 2018.

The index has 62 countries in the “very high” human development category where Malaysia stands on the 62nd place. The next batch of countries until the 116th in the ranking is in the high category. Indonesia continues to enjoy the same position as of 111th under the high category.

The top five countries in the global HDI rankings are Norway (0.954), Switzerland (0.946), Ireland (0.942), Germany (0.939) and Hong Kong (0.939).

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic (composite index) of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development.

The reason for Malaysia’s going up the scale has been attributed to an improved life expectancy average of 76 years versus 75.8 years in 2017, and a higher Per Capita Gross National Income at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) of US$27,227 compared to US$26,555 in 2017.

The UNDP’s 2019 Human Development Report (HDR) reveals that “between 1990 and 2018, Malaysia has shown steady progress in the human development index – from 0.644 to 0.804 – an increase of 24.9 percent, reflecting an average annual increase of 0.80 percent.”

Among others, the report noted that Malaysia’s life expectancy at birth increased by 5.1 years; mean years of schooling increased by 3.6 years, and expected years of schooling increased by 3.7 years; while it’s Per Capita Gross National Income (GNI) increased by about 167.6 percent between 1990 and 2018.

Under the leadership of Mr. Mohammed Mahathir, Malaysia has been showing growth in both industry and youth-led programmes. The cost of living has been curtailed by encouraging indigenous industry and self-reliant projects, supported by the related government programmes.

The report rightly attributes growth to people-friendly policies as well.  An increase in the number of domestic policies also has been of benefit to the overall growth of the country.  These policies have encouraged fair play, avoiding a race to the bottom in corporate tax rates, especially as digitalization brings new forms of value to the economy, and to detect and deter tax evasion.

Taxation has a huge role to play in the overall growth and health of an economy. Malaysia has put checks and balances in place to ensure taxation is leveled throughout the economy and corruption can be curtailed. Further, Malaysia has been consciously working towards public spending on health, education, and alternatives to a carbon-intensive lifestyle, leading to overall healthy netizens.

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