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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Najib boasts of fiscal feats, says Anwar can't compare



Umno president Najib Abdul Razak today constrasted his achievements as finance minister with that of Anwar Ibrahim, in a bid to discredit the latter's ability to guide the country's economy.

NONESpeaking at the opening of Umno's main annual general assembly meeting in Kuala Lumpur today, Najib said that since taking helm of the ministry in 2009, per capita GDP has grown by 30 percent, from US$6,700 to US$9,700.

In contrast, said Najib, Anwar's term as finance minister will be best remembered for his response to the asian financial crisis during the late 1990s.
"During the Asian economic crisis that affected Malaysia in 1997 to 1998, it was proven that the finance minister - I repeat, the finance minister then who is now the opposition leader - was not a competent economic manager," he said.
Najib accused Anwar of undertaking policies advocated by the International Monetary Fund in dealing with the crisis to the detriment of the country.

“His actions of slashing developmental expenditure and increase interest rates at a time when market confidence was falling and needing a boost from the government had caused suffering among the rakyat, particularly in the business community,” he said.

Even now, Najib said the opposition under Anwar’s leadership was espousing poor policies, pointing to its plans to ensure an average of RM4,000 for household income, abolition of tolls and PTPTN debt, RM500 special allowance for teachers and hiking royalty payment to 20 percent for oil-producing states.

“If all these are done in the first year, the federal budget deficit will spiral to almost 30 percent. By 2015, our debt to GDP will sky-rocket to 140 percent.

NONE“In three years time, we will reach a critical stage where we will lose our economic sovereignty like Greece,” he said.

In contrast, on top of the already stellar performance now, Najib said under his leadership, the country was on track to achieving per capita income of US$15,000.

“The fact is, if we use the yardstick of the World Bank which classifies a high income nation as having US$12,476 (income per capita of GDP), then it shows - even though there is seven years more (to Wawasan 2020) - Malaysia is already on the right track to achieve the status much earlier,” he said.

He branded his arch-rival as a political chameleon for singing different tunes to the international and local community as well as people of different races.

‘Umno not a secular nationalist party’

Aside from setting himself apart on the economy, Najib also sought to compare Umno’s track record in promoting and defending Islam to that of PAS, arguing that it is wrong to accuse Umno of being a secular nationalist party.

He chastised the Islamist party for its controversial prayer asking for the destruction of Umno - who are fellow Muslims - instead of praying for Muslims who are suffering in the Gaza conflict.

In contrast, while PAS was occupied with its rhetoric, Najib said the Umno and BN-led government has a long track record of upholding Islam.

Pointing to the introduction of Tabung Haji, a fund for Muslims to do their haj, to Islamic banking, from providing aid to Muslims in conflict zones to to facilitating a peace deal in the southern Philipines, Umno within BN had done it all, Najib said.

“Referring to all this, do not judge one’s contribution to Islam only with the level of rhetoric and loudness of slogans when in fact there are few contributions and content,” he said in reference to PAS.

Najib said the upholding of Islam was possible despite a multi-racial society - through moderation and cooperation with BN component parties.

Instead, he accused PAS of not only failing to reconcile its Islamist struggle with Pakatan Rakyat partners but also sowed disunity among Muslims by accusing Umno of un-Islamic acts.

“Are such leaders worthy to be supported by the people and defending them? In the past, even after becoming menteri besar for one term, the people of Terengganu had rejected him,” he said, taking a jibe at PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang without naming him.

He also mocked PAS for labelling Umno as kafirs (infidels) in the past when it is now cooperating with DAP and had even rebranded its struggle to a “welfare state” instead of an “Islamic state”.

‘Electing wolves to care for sheep’


“The choice now is between BN with a holistic direction for the country’s future or the opposition which is confused and cannot decide on a secular, theocratic or welfare state,” he said.

Najib warned that attempting to change the government would carry great risks as the future of the country and its people cannot afford to become test subjects.

“Without proper, careful and critical evaluation, changing the government is like mengamanahkan tikus membaiki labu (having the wrong person to fix something, making it worse) or trusting a wolf to care for the sheep,” he said.

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