Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has outlined measures the government is taking to safeguard the Malaysian economy given the challenging global environment.
“This year, we have been focused on strengthening the resilience of our economy, managing the impact of external vulnerabilities and safeguarding the well-being of the people”, said Najib in a statement on the eve of unveiling the 2016 budget in the Dewan Rakyat.
While acknowledging that the fall in the price of oil and gas has resulted in a decline in government revenue, the Prime Minister highlighted the pro-active measures being taken by the government to mitigate its impact – specifically the various steps implemented to diversify the economy over the past year.
“Two things we have done to increase resilience is to introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and rationalize subsidies,” said Najib, who is also Finance Minister.
“These decisions have been our savior. GST collection is higher than anticipated due to higher compliance, and fortunately we have other resources – plus the government has been prudent with expenditure,” he added.
Despite the oil price fall, and the challenges emerging markets around the world are facing, Najib noted that Malaysia’s economic fundamentals remained strong with growth expected to be 4.5 to 5.5 per cent this year, inflation at two per cent to 2.5 per cent and unemployment stable.
The government is therefore well-placed to continue to put the people first, he added.
It will provide assistance, especially to vulnerable groups – to help with rising living costs; support the private sector with pro-business policies; and ensure inclusive growth, enhance human capital development, and increase productivity, innovation and green technology.
“I have a plan, and the plan is working. I will not be distracted, for there are serious consequences of not seeing the plan through.
“Budget 2016 will demonstrate how the plan will improve the lives of all Malaysians, and our next step towards achieving Vision 2020 and achieving developed nation status. The future and welfare of all Malaysians is my top priority”, stressed Najib.