Monday, September 12, 2011

Najib: Another round of economic liberation in Budget 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: There will be another round of economic liberalisation in the Budget announcement next month, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"Liberalisation is good for our long-term sustainable competitiveness. It builds our intrinsic strengths not through protection or subsidies," he said in
an interview with Forbes Asia Magazine, Bernama reported on Monday, Sept 12.

The interview was featured in a special edition of the magazine this month.

"We have been liberalising the economy, but I have to assuage domestic concerns that opening up too fast would be threatening," the Prime Minister said in reply to a question on how Malaysia was liberalising its economy.

"We should be competitive because of factors such as our productivity, technologies and processes," said Najib who is also the Finance Minister.

On how the Malaysian economy was performing, Najib said that the country's recovery from the global financial crisis had been robust.

"Following the economic contraction in 2009, we achieved 7.2 per cent growth in 2010. The strong recovery is continuing in 2011 and we expect to achieve five to six per cent growth this year," he said.

Najib said figures on fundamentals such as public and private investment as well as consumption were looking strong.

"One of the key factors for the turnaround is an increase of 530 per cent in foreign direct investment (FDI) whereby it touched about RM28 billion in 2010," he said.

Najib last week had announced that for the first half of 2011, Malaysia had wooed RM21.3 billion in FDI.

"Investors are becoming more confident in our economic transformation programme (ETP) and our new economic model.

"We are making decisions expeditiously on customising incentives for FDI that contribute significantly to high paying jobs, new TECHNOLOGY [] and positive
spin-offs for the local economy," he said.

Najib noted that at this time of global recovery, "we are positioning Malaysia strategically as a hub for Asean and East Asia."

On Malaysia's economic ties with Asian countries and the Middle East, Najib said the country had good economic ties with China with total trade having
reached the RM149 billion mark.

"One area I would like to enhance significantly is to encourage the Chinese to increase their long term investments in Malaysia beyond short-term investment such as projects in CONSTRUCTION []."

With Singapore, he said Malaysia had resolved a thorny 20-year problem on their points of agreement and were now in a constructive mode in terms of their bilateral ties.

"Even though we compete, we should develop a productive relationship wherever we can. That is the strong political signal given by both governments."

Najib also said he had developed very strong personal ties with leaders in the Middle East and as a result they were looking at Malaysia for economic

"Abu Dhabi has become our partner in the KL Financial Center and would like to build a downstream integrated aluminium facility in Sarawak," he said. - Bernama

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