Najib's Budget 2014 acid test

Bridget Welsh

Modified 25 Oct 2013, 7:17 am

COMMENT Malaysia's Budget 2014 represents the most important economic policy initiative of Najib Razak's premiership. After scraping through GE13 and deal-making his way to an unchallenged presidency of Umno, there are no immediate political obstacles undermining his ability to implement the economic reforms he has repeatedly promised investors and international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund.

Najib has gone on record to claim that he will reduce government debt, tighten spending and make the Malaysian economy more competitive. International watchers were initially bought over by all the different acronyms coined by the government, such as the ETP (Economic Transformation Programme).

However, they have become increasingly negative with regard to Najib's financial management which continued to involve massive overspending and this led to a negative rating by Fitch in July this year. With debt reaching 54 percent of gross domestic product, near the 55 percent government self-imposed limit, Malaysia stands on the precipice of future downgrades...

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