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Friday, March 31, 2017

MP: Bank Negara figures have burst Najib's high-income bubble

The recent economic performance figures released by Bank Negara Malaysia have refuted Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's claim that Malaysia is on track towards becoming a high-income nation by 2020, a Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) MP argues.
Looking at the current condition, Amanah strategy director Dzulkefly Ahmad said, a 12 percent (13.5 percent to be exact) yearly gross national income (GNI) growth is needed, consistently every year until 2020, in order to achieve a GNI of US$15,000 (RM64,500) by 2020.
"That's mission impossible, considering the GNI per capita in 2016 was US$9,096 or RM37,738," Dzulkefly said in a statement today.
He said the recently-released Bank Negara report has inadvertently illustrated that Najib's target of Malaysia achieving a high-income economy by 2020 to be almost untenable or no longer achievable.
The Amanah leader related that Najib's plan was to lift Malaysia's GNI to US$523 billion by 2020, and to raise the per capita income from US$6,700 to at least US$15,000 to meet the World Bank's threshold for a high-income nation.
To achieve this, he added, Malaysia will need a GNI growth of six percent a year. This is something that the Bank Negara report shows is not happening, Dzulkefly said.
He noted that the BNM 2016 report recorded per capita income of US$9,238 (RM36,078) for 2015, at an exchange rate of US$1 to RM4.01. For 2016, it registered per capita income of US$9,096 (RM 37,738) at an exchange rate of US$1 to RM4.45.
'Growth on downward trend'
For 2017 until March, per capita income has increased to RM39,656 but because of the exchange rate of US$1 being at RM4.45, it is quoted at US$8,906 or US$9,889, if the exchange rate for US$1 is RM4.01.
Based on this, Dzulkefly argued that for three consecutive years, Najib failed to achieve his targeted economic growth and that it is on a downward trend.
He said the central bank reported a downward growth rate of six percent gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014, five percent in 2015 and 4.2 percent for the year 2016. BNM projected a GDP growth rate of 4.8 percent for 2017.
Dzulkefly said these figures belie Najib's claim during the recent Global Transformation Forum that Malaysia is 'firmly on the path' to become a high-income nation
Instead of making such empty claims, he argued, it would do this country a great service if the prime minister would remain focused on achieving a socially equitable development.
He recommended that Najib looks into reducing the disparity of both income and wealth, and making sure corruption and leakages are effectively stamped out.
"Focusing on achieving higher productivity and higher value-added enterprises would surely be more significant," Dzulkefly added.
Bank Negara last week released its annual report for 2016.
Najib announced his economic transformation programme to make Malaysia a high-income nation in 2010, soon after coming into office.- Mkini

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