KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — In his first Chinese New Year greeting as finance minister, Lim Guan Eng has called on Malaysians to invest in the country's recovering economy and to always stay united.
In a statement today, the DAP secretary-general and Bagan MP also thanked Malaysians again for granting Pakatan Harapan (PH) its first ever historic win during the 14th general election and promised to champion the well-being of everyone, regardless of race and religion.
Lim also reiterated the government's pledge to resolve 'economic legacy issues', after the coalition inherited Putrajaya from its predecessor, Barisan Nasional (BN).
"The PH government is committed to resolving the economic legacy issues from the previous government and achieving our financial targets. The three-fold surge in foreign investment, jump in exports to nearly RM1 trillion and containing inflation rate to a nine-year low of 1 per cent, has succeeded in reassuring international rating agencies and foreign investors.
"Institutional reforms on proper expenditures and accounting, returning RM37 billion in GST and income tax refunds over a period of 10 months as well as a public-private partnership will help economic growth in 2019. Malaysians should invest to also benefit from the economic recovery," Lim said.
He added that Malaysia is headed in the right path in having its fiscal position restored within three years, and will regain its position as the Asian tiger, in terms of economic development.
In his statement, Lim also warned about the risks posed by racial and religious extremists who pit Malaysians against each other, labelling them "undesirable elements".
"These undesirable elements exploit these dangerous sentiments to hide their own corrupt ways or their inability to manage the economy to the extent that they are unable to even pay the salaries of their government servants.
"Only the PH federal government strives to represent all Malaysians regardless of demography or geography. We do not fear to be alone in representing all races and all religions to provide the political stability needed for economic development.
"Let us unite as one nation, one bangsa Malaysia that looks after and respects each other differences," Lim added.
Lim's Cabinet Committee colleague, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali also expressed his Lunar New Year greeting in a separate statement, calling on Malaysians to cherish the celebration in unity, while reminiscing PH's victory on May 9 last year.
"Thousands of years ago, the mainland Chinese managed to defeat a violent creature named Nian that created chaos, so that humans lived in fear and misery. Today, we translate this success as the beginning of the Chinese New Year or Xin Nian every year.
"This year's Chinese New Year celebration has a special meaning. This is the first new year celebrated by the Chinese community in Malaysia under the administration of the Pakatan Harapan government," the Gombak MP and Bukit Antarabangsa state assemblyman said.
"Malaysia is a prosperous and united state. Every celebration is celebrated by all the people who come from different backgrounds. Similarly, the Chinese New Year is also welcomed by all Malaysians who love unity and harmony," Azmin said, also reminding Malaysians who are travelling to be careful on the roads and abide by the law.