High-income nation possible before 2020, says PM

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak set to launch the National Transformation Programme Annual Report 2013 at Auditorium Perdana, Angkasapuri, Kuala Lumpur. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak set to launch the National Transformation Programme Annual Report 2013 at Auditorium Perdana, Angkasapuri, Kuala Lumpur. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — Malaysia is on track towards becoming a developed nation by 2020 and may even reach that target ahead of schedule barring unforeseen obstacles, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

The prime minister also said the country’s gross national income (GNI) per capita increased from US$7,059 (RM22,860) in 2009 to US$10,060 (RM32,600) last year, with six years left to hit the US$15,000 (RM48,577) target in 2020.

“It is clear that the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) are moving together in synergy to transform Malaysia into a high-income nation under the National Transformation Plan,” said Najib in a speech at the launch of the GTP and ETP 2013 reports here.

Despite the increase in the country’s GNI, however, the ETP report noted that pledged investments dropped by three quarters last year to RM8 billion from RM32.1 billion in 2012, and RM179.2 billion in 2011.

Last year, 47 investment projects were announced, compared to 110 in 2011.

Najib said private investment grew by 15.3 per cent annually between 2010 and 2013, triple the 4.7 per cent growth rate in the period of 2008 to 2010.

“As a whole, throughout these past three years, we have managed to create 196 projects with a committed investment totalling RM219.3 billion, which are expected to contribute RM144 billion to the gross national income and create almost 440,000 new jobs,” he said.

Government revenue has risen by 38.1 per cent from 2010 to RM220.4 billion, as of October 31 last year.

The ETP report also noted that Malaysia has been successfully shaving its fiscal deficit since 2009 to 3.9 per cent of the GDP last year, with 3.5 per cent forecast this year.

It predicts the fiscal deficit will be 3.0 per cent next year and that it will finally achieve a balanced budget by 2020.

Malaysia’s economy grew by 4.7 per cent in 2013, the report noted.

During his speech, Najib also assured Malaysians that the goods and services tax (GST), which will be implemented in April 2015, will not be applied to many necessities and basic services, such as rice, salt, oil, public transport, and healthcare.

“There is no need to worry. I am always listening to complaints about the decision to implement the GST.

“It is important that we strive to explain it because it seems that irresponsible parties have twisted facts about the GST,” he said.

Najib, who is also finance minister, said he had ordered his ministry to increase the number of public seminars on the controversial consumption tax to better educate the people.