Najib: M'sia's growth something West can only dream of

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Prime Minister Najib Razak today said Malaysia has achieved a growth rate the Western world can only “dream of”.

“Our estimated growth rate of 4.3 to 4.5 percent for this year is one that developed countries in Europe and North America can only dream of.

“Malaysians should be proud of the growth we are achieving.

“Just as they should be proud that the latest IMF (International Monetary Fund) report concludes that, 'Despite headwinds, the Malaysian economy continues to perform well',” said Najib in his New Year's message today.

He cited the IMF report has praised Malaysia's “policies of diversification, exchange rate flexibility and deepened financial markets, and for our reforms to encourage female labour participation, to improve the quality of education, enhance productivity, invest in infrastructure, and promote research and development”.

“Assessments such as these are independent and conducted by the world’s top experts,” said Najib.

“They reflect the true picture of Malaysia - contrary to the smear campaigns of those who have been trying to commit economic sabotage against their own country just for their own selfish political objectives.

“We will not allow it, because it is the people and country who would suffer,” he said.

The prime minister's upbeat outlook comes amidst what a Bernama analysis today described as the ringgit's “excruciating journey throughout 2016”.

Earlier this month prominent Malaysian economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram said among the factors for the continued slide of the ringgit was a "loss of confidence in the government as more and more revelations are made about 1MDB”.

Bloomberg last month reported that a study of IMF's measure of the buffer between foreign reserves and debt showed Malaysia in the weakest position, with Turkey, South Africa and Mexico close behind.

"The measure shows Malaysia - not coincidentally the worst performing of the major emerging Asian currencies against the dollar this month - faring poorly by comparison, with a US$100 billion reserves projection against short-term external debt of US$128.2 billion, based on IMF estimates," reported the financial news agency.

'Fake news'

Najid added the IMF has commended Malaysia for having made "significant progress toward achieving high-income status".

“That is the reality, and I urge all Malaysians not to fall for lies that are spread.

“Fake news and the proliferation of false stories has become a worldwide phenomenon, and is a grave problem in our country as well,” said the prime minister.

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