Ra­tion­al­i­sa­tion of sub­si­dies, eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion, GST, ben­e­fited na­tion, says Na­jib

New Straits Times - - News - >>



THE gov­ern­ment may not have made populist de­ci­sions in run­ning the coun­try, but the tough choices have proven cru­cial in boost­ing Malaysia’s econ­omy, Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak said.

Among the tough de­ci­sions made by the gov­ern­ment were the in­tro­duc­tion of sub­sidy ra­tion­al­i­sa­tion and the Good and Ser­vices Tax (GST), he said, adding that the moves proved to be pro­duc­tive and pro­gres­sive mea­sures that ben­e­fited the coun­try.

“We ra­tio­nalised and re­moved sub­si­dies. We re­duced gov­ern­ment re­liance on oil and gas rev­enues from 41 per cent in 2009 to just 14 per cent to­day, and we in­tro­duced the GST (on April 1, 2015) to widen the tax base.

“These were not al­ways pop­u­lar mea­sures to take, but they were the right mea­sures.

“Many had ad­vised me against it, but we are not a populist gov­ern­ment,” he said in his speech be­fore launch­ing the In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Se­cu­ri­ties Com­mis­sions (IOSCO) Asia-Pa­cific hub yes­ter­day.

To en­sure the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth would be con­sis­tent and sus­tain­able in the long run, Malaysia ini­ti­ated the Eco­nomic Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gramme (ETP) in 2010, he said.

Na­jib said since the im­ple­men­ta­tion of ETP, ab­so­lute poverty had vir­tu­ally been elim­i­nated, 1.8 mil­lion jobs had been cre­ated, and the gross na­tional in­come had in­creased by nearly 50 per cent.

The econ­omy, he said, had to be ca­pa­ble of main­tain­ing its tra­jec­tory through all phases of the busi­ness and fi­nan­cial cy­cle.

“As such, we sought to build re­silience into the struc­ture of our econ­omy by di­ver­si­fy­ing from com­mod­ity ex­ports to man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vices, as well as strength­en­ing the sta­bil­ity of our in­sti­tu­tions,” he said, re­it­er­at­ing that these were where the tough de­ci­sions came in.

“Of course, we’d like to win the elec­tion, but we will take what­ever (steps) nec­es­sary to make the right de­ci­sions. Al­though un­pop­u­lar, they are the right de­ci­sions.”

Na­jib said sim­i­lar sce­nar­ios were hap­pen­ing glob­ally. He pointed out that In­dia, for in­stance, planned to im­ple­ment GST at the top rate of 23 per cent next month, and that Saudi Ara­bia would fol­low suit in 2018.

De­spite the chal­leng­ing global times and the fall in oil prices, he said, Malaysia had sus­tained growth of 4.2 per cent last year, “a fig­ure that is the envy of many ad­vanced economies”.

Mov­ing for­ward, he noted that the gov­ern­ment was set for an im­proved out­look ahead, with stronger trade ac­tiv­ity, bet­ter ex­port per­for­mance and do­mes­tic de­mand be­ing key driv­ing fac­tors.


Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak, Se­cu­ri­ties Com­mis­sion Malaysia chair­man Tan Sri Ran­jit Ajit Singh (right) and In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Se­cu­ri­ties Com­mis­sions (IOSCO) board chair­man Ash­ley Alder at the launch of IOSCO Asia Pa­cific Hub in con­junc­tion with the Global Emerg­ing Mar­kets Reg­u­la­tory Con­fer­ence 2017 at the Se­cu­ri­ties Com­mis­sion Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

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