Despite large spending on major infrastructure projects, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak insists that the country is not running out of cash as there’s plenty of foreign reserves.
“During the Asian Financial Crisis, our reserves was down to US$20 billion, we didn’t go bankrupt then. Now, our reserves are about US$124 billion. Can you say we’re bankrupt?”
He also revealed that the federal government managed to slash its debt to 50.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) compared to a self-imposed limit of 55 percent.
Moreover, the authorities’ Economic Transformation Programme increased the take-home pay of the citizens by five percent to six percent per annum and generated 2.26 million jobs across the nation, said Najib during the “Budget 2018 with the Rakyat” programme on 22 February (Thursday).
Last year, the country’s GDP also expanded by 5.9 percent, which is among the world’s highest, while unemployment and inflation remained low, noted Najib, who is also the Finance Minister.
“That is the big picture. Our achievements have received very good reviews from international organisations such as the World Trade Organisation who commended Malaysia as our economy is moving in the right direction and our policies are showing positive results, including some measures that we have taken.”
In addition, the government has used the goods and services tax (GST) and other levies to help the people.
“What we’ve collected through GST and other taxes we give back to the people. We’ve given back a lot to the people such as special payments for civil servants because our revenue base is stronger.”
Furthermore, the authorities plan to help major local companies and repeal disadvantageous policies that have been previously implemented.
“I will unravel some of the earlier decisions what I think are not to the interest of the people of Malaysia. That I would do. We have unravelled independent power producer (IPP), the very unpopular privatisation, sweetheart deal what I called it. I will review the toll (concessions) if we have the remaining funds.”
“We will rescue. (For example,) Proton is too big to fail. We will make sure Proton survives, but we will restructure to make it competitive,” he added.
Under the latest budget, toll collection at several places were repealed since 1 January 2018. These include the toll plazas in Johor’s Eastern Dispersal Link and Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah, as well as Batu Tiga and Sungai Rasau in Shah Alam.
Image sourced from Says.com
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