Monday, 2 July 2018

(NST) Malaysia to grow at 5.5pct this year: Azmin Ali

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Economic Affairs projects a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.5 per cent this year, despite the recent changes in Malaysia post 14th General Election (GE14) in May.

Speaking to reporters at the launch of World Bank’s 18th Edition of the Malaysia Economic Monitor, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said this is possible given Malaysia's sound economic fundamentals.

“The Malaysian economy is fundamentally resilient, supported by a stable and strong banking and financial sector.

"Sustaining growth will be a priority with greater focus on citizen-centric programmes to ensure a better quality of life for the people,” he said.

“I believe with the current economic standing, we will see growth remaining at 5.5 per cent. With this, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will be able to bring back more investment into Malaysia,” he said.

Azmin had earlier said the new government is in the midst of preparing mid-term review of the Eleventh Malaysia Plan scheduled to be tabled on 18th October 2018.

“Issues and development challenges will be identified and steps to tackle them will be proposed. Progressive socio-economic policies will be introduced to complement current institutional reforms,” said Azmin.

“While the current macroeconomic indicators exhibit strong performance on the back of robust GDP growth, stable and low inflation as well as full-employment, the situation behind the headline indicators tells a different story,” he added.

As such, the mid-term review will seek to address the disparity of growth across the states and income inequalities particularly the B40 income group, high youth unemployment rate and the rising cost of living.

Azmin stressed that one key focus for the government now is to bring back foreign investors that might have been spooked, especially on the back of the RM1 trillion debt amassed by the previous Barisan Nasional government.

“The PH government will ensure to sustain foreign direct investment (FDIs) into Malaysia. We want to retain Malaysia's position as an investment destination so it is very crucial for us to restore back the confidence of the investors,” he said.

“The challenges facing the PH government is how do we restore back the confidence of investors. These are the areas that we need to discuss and debate in parliament by end of the year.”

Going forward, Azmin said, the government will move towards high tech and capital intensive industries, rather than traditional labour intensive industries.

When asked, Azmin said his ministry have been in discussions with Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad and the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) to identify 'personalities with highest integrity, knowledge and credibility to lead government-linked companies.'

This is in light of all the top management shake-ups that have been the spotlighted in the country since the past few weeks.