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Finance Ministry refutes ‘Najib's Asia’s worst finance minister’ claim

Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP) grew from RM528 billion in 2009 to RM877 billion in 2015 through various initiatives under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

Under Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak's leadership, the economy expanded from 1.9 percent in 2009 to 6 percent in 2014 amid global economic slowdown and other challenges.

The Ministry of Finance (MoF), in a statement today, took the FinanceAsia e-magazine to task for its article titled ‘Najib Razak: Asia's worst finance minister 2016.’

The MoF said it was unethical for the e-magazine to make a judgment based on developments within 12 months, backed by baseless and biased allegations.

It said on the contrary, Malaysia registered a growth of between 4.5 and 5.5 percent in 2015, while its unemployment rate declined from 4.5 to 3 percent with 1.8 million new jobs created.

The per capita income increased from RM24,541 to RM33,572, while the fiscal deficit dropped from 6.7 to 3.2 percent.

"Despite uncertainty in the global economy, Malaysia is optimistic of attaining its GDP target of 4.5 percent this year.

"If Malaysia could register a 4.5 percent growth amid the economic slowdown, it would infer that Malaysia's economy is still strong compared with that of other Asian countries," it added.

Questioning FinanceAsia's motive in posting the article which suggested that Malaysia was in the doldrums, the MoF said the report was callously released to improve its rating.

This is because in last year's issue, the e-magazine ranked Najib in eighth spot among finance ministers of the Asia-Pacific Region's 12 largest economies, the MoF added.

"As Asia has 48 countries, does being in the 12th position makes Najib the worst finance minister in the region?" the MoF said.

It said the trend of making Malaysia under Najib's administration the target of untoward criticism was worrying as it seemed to imply that it was not a stable country.

- Bernama

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