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Half Empty Of Half Full? — Hock Khai Tan

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APRIL 25 — Two people can see the same situation in different ways. One can see the glass as half-full or half-empty — to dwell in positive or negative thinking, or display optimism or pessimism, hopefulness or practical realism.

To illustrate, consider Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s speech at Invest Malaysia and former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad’s blog posting.

On one hand, whilst Mahathir paints a bleak doomsday scenario for Malaysia and insists the PM steps down, PM announces Malaysia recorded very strong growth of 6 per cent in 2014.

Both the IMF and the World Bank have revised downwards their global economic growth estimates for 2015, to 3.5 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively. However, we expect to see Malaysia grow by between 4.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent in 2015.

Moreover, over the next four years, the OECD predicts our country will enjoy annual growth of 5.6 percent.

PM Najib gives us reason to rejoice by reminding us that Bloomberg has rated Malaysia as the world’s 5th most promising emerging market in 2015 and the only ASEAN country in its top 10 which means our population of almost 30 million industrious people now sits alongside China in Bloomberg’s top five.

Conversely, Mahathir casts aspersions on our country’s economic stability by persistently questioning the status of 1MDB funds and uses PM’s silence regarding what happened to the funds as a reason for him to step down as PM.

Mahathir seems to have tunnel vision, as all he sees is a completely empty glass when in fact, World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report recognized Malaysia as being first for Financial Market legal rights, 4th for Financial Market Development, and eighth for ease of financing through the equity market.

The 1MDB is not the axis for Malaysia although Mahathir chooses to believe otherwise.

Commendably, our government is able to facilitate affordable, high-quality housing and opened 1Malaysia clinics and shops making healthcare and basic necessities are available to all.

Putting the less fortunate as a priority, the current government has carefully targeted subsidy delivery via direct cash transfers for BR1M.

This method has been used in many other countries, and ensures that the money goes to those who need it most, rather than blanket subsidies.

The recipients benefit directly as the money enables them to buy necessities benefitting them our economy via the local multiplier effect.

While the PM reminds us that today, 92 per cent of Malaysians have access to a bank account, and we have been in the top rank in the World Bank’s “Getting Credit” category for six years in a row, Mahathir questions the accounts and location of 1MDB funds.

Tell me, honestly.

Do you make known your company’s accounts for all and sundry to see?

If Mahathir were to ask you, where you stash your savings, would you reveal it?

In addition, if you refused and Mahathir asks you to resign from your job, would you?

There are times when it is right to speak and right to question. All of us want answers but we cannot get them all the time because we have to respect boundaries and conventions.

Anything that the PM says can affect the stock market or even the ringgit and business confidence.

With much wisdom and confidence, PM said this today: There has been some talk lately in Malaysia about how it can be lonely telling the truth. Well, I can tell you that I don’t feel lonely standing here in front you all today! And when so many respected international bodies, individuals and institutions have confirmed their belief in Malaysia’s success, and have honoured us by rating us so highly, I don’t feel lonely at all – in fact, I feel in very good company! And I am equally confident that, given the well-known stability and growth of Malaysia under this government, I will be able to look forward to the pleasure of your company both next year and for years to come.

In the face of such blistering and scathing attacks from Mahathir and his ilk, if the PM can have such a cool head, it either means he is a very good actor or living in delusion/denial or that indeed, all is well on the Najib front.

I choose to believe the latter. How about you?

I see the glass as half full. What about you? – ( )

* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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