KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s chairmanship of ASEAN this year could spur the country’s economy, says Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan.
He said Malaysia’s good relations with other ASEAN countries could open many people’s eyes to the country’s leadership capacity and product diversity.
“As the ASEAN chair, we can focus on ASEAN traders, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and people. This is a good opportunity for Malaysia to showcase our products not only to the 30 million Malaysians but also to the wider ASEAN community of more than 600 million people,” he said when met by reporters after appearing on Bernama TV’s ‘Ruang Bicara’ programme on protecting the national economy here yesterday.
Ahmad also urged local entrepreneurs to expand their exports and attract more tourists to the country.
Malaysia assumed the chairmanship of ASEAN on Jan 1 this year from Myanmar, and will host the 26th ASEAN Summit at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on April 26-27.
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat at Sutera Harbour Resort, Kota Kinabalu on Jan 27-28 will be the curtain raiser for the series of ministerial and related meetings under Malaysia’s chairmanship of ASEAN this year.
Meanwhile, Ahmad said registrations for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to be implemented on April 1 have hit almost 300,000, exceeding the target of 140,000.
“We urge company owners to register immediately with the Customs Department as we have the list of names at the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (LHDN), and we have 50,000 companies still not registered for the GST,” he said.
Ahmad said the government has so far allocated about RM3 billion to the relevant agencies to help victims of the recent floods.
The amount includes RM700 million for the National Security Council (MKN), RM800 million for infrastructure repair, RM893 million for flood mitigation projects and an additional allocation of RM20 million, he said. – BERNAMA