Happy new year? Maybe not, as Najib predicts challenging 2019

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak speaks to Reuters during the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum in Dubai October 28, 2014. — Reuters pic
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak speaks to Reuters during the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum in Dubai October 28, 2014. — Reuters pic

PETALING JAYA, Dec 31 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in a new year message today, gave a scathing review of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s performance, adding that 2019 will be a challenging year for Malaysians.

Going live on Facebook, he said since Pakatan’s win in the May 9 general election, the value of the ringgit had declined, the international reserves had shrunk, the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange dipped and foreign investment had plummeted.

Comparing the country’s growth rate, he said it had fallen from 5.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2017 to 4.5 per cent in the same period this year, and from 6.2 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 to 4.4 per cent in the corresponding period this year.

“I received information that thousands have lost their jobs and it is not only the question of the country’s economy that worry the people, but also the racial harmony such as the Seafield temple incident which should not have happened at all and what’s more, it cost an innocent life,” he said.

Najib was referring to the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple fracas end of last month where fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, 24, was allegedly assaulted after he and fellow first responders arrived at the scene. He died from his injuries on December 17.

The Pekan MP said 2019 will be a more difficult year for the government in managing the economy as the people are burdened by an increasing cost of living.

“PH promised that when the GST is abolished the cost of living will go down but when it was replaced by SST, the cost of living went up instead. We can read daily about how consumers are increasingly burdened,” he said on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Sales and Services Tax (SST).

Pointing out that the sale of government assets could have a long term impact on the government, Najib also slammed PH for not immediately floating petrol prices when world oil prices fell.

“This is what worries the people, the increase in the cost of living, the future and stability of their job and income, and the lost of support system, not like during the Barisan Nasional era.”

Najib, who is also the former president of Barisan Nasional which ruled the country for more than 60 years, urged Malaysians to work together to improve the harmony and the stability of the country.

“We will face 2019 with a feeling of uncertainty. I hope Malaysians will be resilient and strong and together, face whatever challenges 2019 brings,” Najib said.