Najib: Tougher times next year

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has advised the people to be prepared to face more difficult times next year.

The Deputy Prime Minister said it was important for everyone to work together to face the challenges ahead.

“I don’t have a crystal ball that can tell me what lies ahead, but next year will definitely not be as good as this year.

“We (the Government) admit this; it means we are realistic. Because of our economy’s inherent strength, we should be able to ride out the economic storm next year and, if the external economy recovers, there is a possibility 2010 will be better than 2009,” he said in a special interview with RTM last night on the fiscal stimulus package for Budget 2009 which he presented to Parliament on Tuesday.

Najib ” who is the Finance Minister ” said that in order to meet the challenges, cooperation was needed from the people, NGOs and political parties, including those from the Opposition.

He believed that if this was in place it would be easier for Malaysia to weather the global economic crisis.

He did not deny that the recent drop in oil and commodity prices would exact a toll on the economy, adding that if the Government did not intervene with the stimulus package the overall economy might be even more badly affected.

On claims that certain facts he presented on the budget stimulus were incorrect, Najib explained that the Government presented reports only after studying and scrutinising them thoroughly.

“We scrutinise the facts we present, study them in depth and we can substantiate them,” he stressed.

On public transportation, Najib said the service had many weaknesses that could only be overcome by having one management authority, adding that the proposed Public Transportation Commission would be able to look into the overall needs of the sector.

“In terms of public transportation, we have allocated RM500mil under the stimulus package for immediate improvement of the light rail transit system and bus services.

“This means that where we need to expand immediately, we will do that,” he said.

On whether the stimulus package, which aims to raise disposable income, would also be extended to non-salaried people, he said the RM200mil allocated for the microcredit scheme was for this category of people.

“This means there is an extension of the access to micro credit. Therefore, small traders are also given consideration in this fiscal stimulus package,” he said.

On the possibility of reducing the number of migrant workers, he said the Industrialised Building System could reduce the number of workers by 60%.

Source : The Star

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