PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian economy has continuously demonstrated its strength by securing record levels of foreign direct investments (FDIs), said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic).
The Prime Minister said contrary to claims that the government was going bankrupt, the country's Gross National Income increased by nearly 50 percent between 2009 and 2016, in which 2.26 million jobs had also been created.
"Inflation and unemployment have been kept low. And we have secured record levels of foreign direct investment – at a time when our opponents keep trying to scare people into thinking that Malaysia is going bankrupt!" he said.
Najib said that businesses would not be investing and moving their regional headquarters to Malaysia if they thought that the nation was going bankrupt.
For instance, Huawei, a global ICT provider had made Malaysia its global headquarters while Broadcom Limited, a semi conductor company, had transferred its global distribution hub from Singapore to Malaysia.
Additionally, HSBC also stated that they will invest over RM1bil to build its future regional headquarters at the Tun Razak Exchange and Saudi Aramco would invest USD$7bil (RM29.94bil) for a 50 percent stake in Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development in Johor.
"The Government has taken many steps and put in place reforms to ensure that Malaysia is a business-friendly country where companies and entrepreneurs can thrive because we know that the jobs created, the wages lifted, and the skills transferred are good for investors – and they are good for Malaysians.
"We had a plan. And that plan has delivered, and continues to deliver," he said on his blog following his speech at the Asean@50 Commemorative Dinner and Achievement Awards.
The event was organised by the Asean Business Advisory Council Malaysia on Friday to mark the historic milestone of Asean at 50.
Najib added that even the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have all issued reports commending the government's macroeconomic management and its successes in transforming the economy into one that was well-diversified and inclusive.
He said the IMF in its report noted that "Malaysia was among the fastest growing economies among peers," while the World Bank praised the Government for being "proactive and effective and that the Malaysian economy was progressing from a position of strength".
"The IMF recently downgraded their predictions for the United States and the United Kingdom to 2.1 percent and 1.7 percent.
"By contrast, our predicted growth rate for this year has been upgraded by both the IMF and the World Bank to 4.8 and 4.9 percent, respectively.
"That's more than double the figures for two of the world's most advanced economies, and our growth is predicted to rise next year, as well," he said.
Najib added that Malaysia was also placed strategically for businesses to access the Asean market of 625 million people, and together with the eventual conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) it will be a gateway to 50 percent of the world's population and over 30 percent of global GDP.
"We are not just strategically and geographically well placed. It is also a matter of how we wish to interact with the world. And the spirit that animated my father, Tun Abdul Razak, and the other four ministers who signed the Bangkok Declaration in 1967, still characterises Malaysia today," he said.
Recent estimates have shown that Asean's growth is set to make it the sixth largest economy in the world.
Hence, he said Asean has showed its resilience in what has been a challenging global environment, in which between 1975 and 2016, Asean's economy also multiplied significantly from USD$87.2bil to USD$2.55tril.
"As we anticipate the forthcoming 50th anniversary of the founding of Asean, it is right that we celebrate what has been achieved.
"There have been a series of initiatives aimed at deepening regional economic integration to make Asean a single market and production base," he said.
Najib said although Asean still has a long way to go, where the elimination of non-tariff barriers still have to be vigorously tackled, however, Asean has continuously kept the peace in the region, which should not be forgotten.
He added for Asean to realise its potential, it must be an association that "feels real, relevant and tangible" to its citizens.
Najib said that Malaysia has played a major role in building Asean's success, and will continue to fulfill the promise was infused by its Asean founders when the Bangkok declaration was signed 50 years ago.
"This has led to our relations and friendships with many nations reaching historic highs," he added.