DEWAN RAKYAT, Mon: Prime Minster Datuk Seri Najib Razak refuted claims that the first and second stimulus packages had failed to revive the economy.
He said the economy’s negative growth had been due to a greater-than-expected contraction in the external demand for goods and services.
Replying to a question in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Najib said the International Monetary Fund had revised projected world economic growth in 2009 from 0.5 per cent to -1.3 per cent and world trade growth from 2.1 per cent to -11 per cent.
He told members of Parliament the government would re-evaluate the Foreign Investment Committee and make an announcement on it soon.
In response to Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur), Najib, the finance minister, said the government was also reviewing the process of liberalising the economy.
“Singapore’s economy will contract by 9 per cent this year. Does this mean that their policies are worse than ours? We are expected to contract between 5 per cent and 4 per cent because international trade will decline more drastically than expected.
“As for our internal issues, we will review the liberalisation process and re-evaluate the FIC policy which I will announce at the end of June at Invest Malaysia 2009,” he said.
Najib said RM6.95 billion of the total of RM7 billion under the first stimulus package had been distributed.
He said 43,682 projects costing RM4.02 billion had been offered to contractors.
“Up to June 5, a total of RM1.4 billion has been spent to complete 10,979 projects,” he said. Some of these involved the upgrading of roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.
A total of 7,811 projects worth RM4.2 billion have been given out as at June 5 from the second, RM60 billion stimulus package.
Najib said RM1.2 billion had been spent to complete 453 projects, which include maintenance of public infrastructure and basic infrastructure projects worth RM173 million, involving 2,682 projects, with an emphasis on Sabah and Sarawak.
The government’s initiatives to protect the economy had given confidence to investors, especially in the equity markets, he said.
“This was obvious when the KLCI recorded a rise after the second stimulus package was announced. The implementation of the stimulus package will have an effect and positive growth for the fourth quarter is expected,” he said.
The government remains confident the stimulus packages will soften the impact of the global economic crisis.
“The government will monitor the implementation of the stimulus packages to ensure that they flow faster and are effective, including providing value for money,” Najib said.
Source : New Straits Times