Najib in particular held up the nearly 20 per cent increase in Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) that rose to RM751.5 billion in 2012 from RM676.7 billion in 2010. — AFP picPUTRAJAYA, Dec 16 ― Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today assured Malaysia it was on target to become a developed nation by 2020, as he presented a rosy year-end report of the country’s performance due to initiatives under his Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).
Touting the country’s growth on multiple fronts since the launch of the ambitious programme in 2010, Najib in particular held up the nearly 20 per cent increase in Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) that rose to RM751.5 billion in 2012 from RM676.7 billion in 2010.
“As of quarter three this year, GDP recorded a five per cent increase year-on-year, outstripping forecasts. It is projected to hit 4.5 to 5 per cent by year-end,” he said in his speech at the third-year anniversary of the ETP’s implementation.
Najib, who is also finance minister, said his administration did well over the course of the ETP’s implementation, successfully staving off external pressure to maintain strong growth on multiple fronts.
He said as at 2012, Malaysia’s gross national income (GNI) per capita stood at US$9,928 or around RM32,067 ― nearly 50 per cent more than the US$6,700 (RM21,641) just three years earlier.
“I am especially pleased to say that the country is officially at full employment, with declining unemployment rates from 3.7 per cent in 2009 to 3 per cent in 2012. During my tenure, employment has increased by 1.8 million, as population growth held steady at 1.7 per cent,” the prime minister said.
Private investment also up significantly under the ETP, said Najib, with the baseline average shooting up to 16 per cent for the 2010-2012 period compared to 5 per cent over the 2008-2010 period.
Private investment is expected to grow at 16.2 per cent and is valued at RM135.8 billion this year, on top of increased government revenue through tax collection that is projected to hit RM220 billion in 2013, compared to RM207 billion at the end of last year.
Najib said all indications point toward Malaysia’s fiscal deficit dropping to 4 per cent of GDP this year, and further down to 3 per cent by 2015.
The country has also seen growing consumer confidence, supported by stable employment and higher wage growth with private consumption growing by 7.7 per cent over the first nine months of 2013, compared to 7.7 per cent growth for the whole of last year, he added.
Najib also cited strong investor confidence in Malaysia’s stock market, with the FTSE-KLCI reaching a record 1,843.85 points just last December 10, the latest in a series of over 60 historical highs over the past three years.
Under the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) listed in the ETP, the country saw 195 projects launched over the past three years, bringing with them a total committed investment of RM220 billion, which he said are projected to contribute RM144 billion to GNI and create 435,000 new jobs.
Despite continued uncertainty in the global economic outlook, Najib said Malaysia could expect to achieve between 5 and 5.5 per cent growth to the GDP, while private investment is set to rise by 12.7 per cent to hit RM153 billion, especially with six multinational trading companies with a projected minimum total turnover of US$600 million (RM1.9 billion) potentially setting up operations in the country.
“The last three years have been a watershed period for my administration. We have battled global headwinds and searing competition from Asean and the emerging markets.
“We have ramped up efforts to deliver our promises to the country and I must say we have been successful in bringing together the government and private sector to deliver results,” he said.