Gov't decisions not populist, but right for country: PM


KUALA LUMPUR: The government may not have made populist decisions in its administration of the country, but they have proven crucial in boosting Malaysia's economy, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

He said Malaysia initiated the Economic Transformation Programme in 2010 to ensure that the country's economic growth would be consistent and sustainable in the long run.

The economy, he said, has to be capable of maintaining its trajectory through all phases of the business and financial cycle.

"As such, we sought to build resilience into the structure of our economy by diversifying from commodity exports to manufacturing and services, as well as strengthening the stability of our institutions.

"We rationalised and removed subsidies. We reduced government reliance on oil and gas revenues from 41 per cent in 2009 to just 14 per cent today. And we introduced a goods and services tax (GST) to widen the tax base.

"These were not always popular measures to take. But they were the right measures to take.

"Many advised me against it, but we are not a populist government. Of course, we would like to win the elections, but we will take whatever (steps) necessary to make the right decisions," he said in his speech before launching the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Asia-Pacific hub here today.

Najib added that other countries, including India and Saudi Arabia, are following suit in implementing the GST.