NEW YORK â€“ Malaysia is on track to achieve its goal of becoming a high-income
nation by 2020 despite the current volatile global economic situation, Datuk Seri
Najib Tun Razak said Monday (Tuesday in Malaysia).
However, the Prime Minister said the country must always be prepared for
changing conditions and external shocks that were beyond its control.
Speaking at the 5th Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC)
at a hotel in midtown Manhattan here, Najib reiterated that the fundamentals of
the countryâ€™s economy remained strong and there were indicators that showed its
economy was on the right track.
He said unlike during the 1998 Asian economic crisis that saw the economy
contracted by negative seven per cent, the economy was expected to grow at a
rate of five per cent.
Najib said learning from the 1998 crisis, the government had managed to
reduce fiscal deficit from negative 6.7 per cent in 2009 to 3.2 per cent this
â€œHence, the banking and financial system continues to have strong
capitalisation and ample liquidity. The rate of non-performing loans and
inflation are low and manageable,â€ he said.
He also cited the success of national policies, in particular the National
Transformation Policy, that led to a decline in poverty rate to just 0.6 per
cent in 2014.
Najib said about 1.8 million jobs had been created since the launch of the
Economic Transformation Programme in 2010.
At the same time, the Prime Minister said, ratings and reports by
international financial agencies such as Fitch Ratings, Moodyâ€™s, Standard &
Poorâ€™s had reflected the actual picture of the current economic management in
Malaysia was also ranked 12th out of 60 countries in the World
Competitiveness Yearbook 2014.
â€œThe nationâ€™s well-being and the welfare of the people have always been my
foremost concern and priority,â€ the Prime Minister said, adding that it was
important to strike a balance between the capital economy and the peopleâ€™s
He said capital economy referred to economic management and policies from
the macro perspective and the peopleâ€™s economy focused on issues affecting the
daily lives of the people such as cost of living, household income, employment
and business as well as security and safety.
â€œWe have achieved all these successes because we have not been averse to
evaluate our performance in an open and transparent manner, and to make the
changes that prevailing conditions demand,â€ he said.
GSIAC was initiated by Najib in 2011 as part of his efforts to transform
Malaysia from a middle-income country to a high-income economy by 2020.
Among those present at the meeting were Science Advisor to the Prime
Minister Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive
Officer New York Academy of Sciences TC Westcott, Minister in the Prime
Ministerâ€™s Department Datuk Sri Abdul Wahid Omar and Johor Menteri Besar Datuk
Seri Khalid Nordin. – BERNAMA