KUALA LUMPUR: THE Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) initiated in 2010 has created some 2.26 million new jobs and moved the Gross National Income up by nearly 50 per cent. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia’s success in transforming its economy into a well-diversified and inclusive one had also allowed the unemployment and inflation rates, to be kept low. “We took tough decisions such as removing subsidies and implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST), since we knew we had to diversify our economy … with the plunge of oil prices, GST has been our saviour,” he said. Speaking at the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) 50th anniversary at the Berjaya Times Square Hotel here tonight, the Finance Minister made clear that the implementation of the GST had nothing to do with state-owned firm 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
New Straits Times’s senior reporter Rupa Damodaran took home the media award at the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) 50th anniversary at the Berjaya Times Square Hotel. Pix by Asyraf Hamzah
“It has nothing whatsoever to do with 1MDB, whose rationalisation programme is proceeding well. There is simply no connection and anyone who says otherwise is deliberately lying and trying to deceive Malaysians. “No. GST is about ensuring that our fundamentals are strong and that we are shielded from global headwinds. Every respected economist around the world has commended us for implementing it,” he said. Also present at the event were Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and his deputy Datuk Ahmad Maslan. Najib in the speech also pointed out the importance of Malaysia to establish good relations with other countries, in order to attract foreign investments. He said, this was why he had been promoting the country’s investment in his own capacity to leaders of some world’s largest economies, such as Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud and US President Donald J Trump, among others. “The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have both revised upwards their predictions for growth in Malaysia this year, to nearly five per cent. “The latest respected international institution to do so is the Asian Development Bank. It has just revised it’s forecast for our GDP growth this year from 4.7 per cent to 5.4 per cent. “All of this has not come about by chance. Instead, as MIDA employees know very well, it is because of the government’s careful stewardship of the economy.” Commenting on MIDA’s contribution to the country’s economy, Najib said as of now, more than 5,000 foreign Multinational Corporations (MNCs) from 40 countries, have chosen Malaysia as their preferred investment destination in the region. Najib also took a swipe against opposition leaders who claimed that the country was going bankrupt. “These are false allegations .. These MNCs know that the siren voices of politicians who have past it and are trying to run down Malaysia, are false. “Foreign companies know that these politicians who are making all sorts of ridiculous claims that the country is going bankrupt, are doing so for their own selfish political gains,” he said.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak presenting the media award to New Straits Times’s senior reporter Rupa Damodaran. Pix by Asyraf Hamzah
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