|Najib: Let the facts speak for themselves
19. Some are so desperate to cast our record in a bad light, that they have even said that Malaysia is on its way to becoming a failed state.
20. This is ludicrous. But let the facts speak for themselves.
21. From 2009 to 2014, Malaysia’s Gross National Income grew by 47.7 percent.
22. 1.8 million jobs have been created since we established the Economic Transformation Programme in 2010.
23. We have reduced the deficit for six years running, and in each of the last five years, total investments have reached new records.
24. Since 2009, the income of the bottom 40 percent households has increased by a compound annual growth rate of 12 percent, even higher than the national average of 8 percent.
25. Through the implementation of minimum wage legislation, the government has lifted 2.9 million people immediately out of absolute poverty.
26. Unemployment has declined to under 3 percent – from 3.7 percent in 2009.
27. We have increased women’s participation in the workforce, with a higher percentage of management positions in Malaysia being held by women than in Hong Kong and Singapore.
28. And we have maintained the reforms necessary for Malaysia to reach the goal of becoming a high income status nation by 2020. Some of these reforms have not been popular, like the introduction of GST and the removal of subsidies. But I am here not to make popular decisions; I am here to make the right decisions. Saying we could achieve strong growth without hard choices would be to make empty promises.
29. We had to broaden our tax base and reduce our dependency on oil and gas revenues. Every serious economist around the world agrees that these reforms were necessary and will benefit Malaysia in the long run.
30. The IMF recognised our progress in a report this March, titled: “Favourable Prospects for Malaysia’s Diversified Economy”. Its key conclusions were: Growth likely to remain healthy in 2015, despite lower energy prices – and it has. Growth for the second quarter was a strong 4.9 percent. End of fuel subsidies and start of Goods and Services tax is timely, and good for efficiency, equity, and the environment. Exchange rate flexibility will help non-energy exports.
31. The IMF does not hand out compliments lightly. Nor do the ratings agencies. Yet in January, Moody’s maintained Malaysia’s A3 rating with a positive outlook. In February Standard and Poor’s maintained Malaysia’s A- rating with a stable outlook. More recently, Fitch maintained Malaysia’s A- rating – and actually upgraded its outlook from negative to stable.
32. Despite the volatility of the world economy, other organisations, including the World Bank and the World Economic Forum have placed us high in their rankings for ease of doing business and competitiveness. Bloomberg rated Malaysia as the world’s 5th most promising emerging market in 2015.
33. And an independent study, which has nothing to do with us, recently declared Malaysia to be the top country for the Global Islamic Economy Indicator 2014-2015. Malaysia led by a large margin. Does that sound like a failed state to you?