KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 (Bernama) — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is set to take over the country’s leadership soon, is capable of steering Malaysia through the ongoing global economic crisis and achieving stronger growth in the process.
“Based on what I have seen in the last few weeks, including the Mini Budget, I have great hopes that he would be able to handle and bring Malaysia to a much higher level of economic growth,” Director General of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Dr Mahani Zainal Abidin, said.
She said this following a media briefing on the findings of the “2009 UN-United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (UNESCAP) Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific,” here Thursday.
Najib in his capacity as Finance Minister had recently tabled the country’s second economic stimulus package worth RM60 billion to be implemented this year and 2010.
Such a move has never been implemented in the country’s economic history, with RM15 billion as fiscal injection, RM25 billion in credit guarantee fund, RM10 billion for equity investment and RM7 billion for private finance initiative and the proposal of an off-budget.
He had also recently announced that Malaysia would use the current economic downturn period as a stepping stone for the formation of a new economic model with knowledge as the driving force.
The country will invest in education and technology as well as strengthen its capacities to venture into the information technology sector, renewable energy and emerging economies, he had said.
Dr Mahani said Najib’s determination has been strong in launching the new programmes and introducing stronger implementation systems, while bringing forth the necessary ideas for the creation of a more competitive economy.
“These are signs reflecting his determination to overcome our economic problems,” he said.
She said with his background in economy, Najib will be able to further accept and understand the economic challenges facing the country.
Dr Mahani was also of the opinion that Najib would continue to advocate, through liberalisation, a more competitive economy.
Najib recently announced that the government will fine-tune the proposal on liberalising the services sector, an area considered important in the efforts to drive greater economic growth for the country.
He had said a Cabinet committee will be formed to look into the liberalisation of the sector.
He had also said that the government was hoping to expand the country’s services sector so that it would be able to contribute up to 70 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) like how it was in the developed countries.
“I believe this move will be in line with what is happening in the global level where we will have to further strengthen the tie between Malaysia and the global economy and one way will be to ensure that we are operating in a more effective manner,” Dr Mahani said.
She also suggested a system that will be more liberal and responsive to price fluctuations and also hoped that Najib would have a more open economy not only externally but also domestic wise.
“For example, paying attention to price control systems in the country,” she added.
Source : Bernama