KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 ― The negative effects of the new government’s economic policies are already visible and can be felt after just after four months of Pakatan Harapan (PH) rule, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has alleged in his latest criticism against Putrajaya.
The former prime minister said in a Facebook post that while it may be unfair and premature to judge the performance of the new administration now, recent data have sparked concerns over the economy’s direction.
Najib pointed to lower gross domestic product (GDP) growth announced by the government last week, higher unemployment rate, a weaker ringgit and a dwindling account surplus as examples.
“I am baffled as to why the trajectory of our economy has changed direction and is heading south, though it is unfair to judge the PH government in just four months,” Najib said in a posting published last night.
“But of course the government’s domestic and foreign policies have effects.”
Malaysia’s GDP growth dropped to 4.5 per cent for the second quarter from 5.4 per cent in the previous period, with economists forecasting a slowdown for the entire year owing to shocks in commodity production and sluggish exports.
Najib said the drop was worrying because it fell below the growth level in Thailand and Indonesia, two worst performing economies in South-East Asia.
PH’s decision to halt major projects undertaken by the defeated Barisan Nasional government was among the chief factors causing the slowdown, the former prime minister alleged.
Najib also claimed the impact could have been more severe if not for local consumption boosted by the new government’s move to zero-rate and roll back the goods and services tax.
That reintroduction of sales and services tax next month could cancel that effect out, however, the former prime minister warned.
“The lower GDP growth in the second quarter could have dropped because so many sectors were affected by the decision to cancel out many projects, but it was saved by domestic consumption boosted when the GST was zero-rated,” he wrote.
“But this situation will not go on for long since the SST will be back next month.”