KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said at the SME Bank Entrepreneur Awards here on Saturday that Malaysia is not a failed state as it has built up its economic resilience which has been hailed by international agencies.
He said that the international rating agencies had hailed Malaysia for not adopting populist policies, instead was brave enough to lay a strong and resilient foundation like the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax and rationalising of the subsidy programme.
Also present was Najib’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor. Others included Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Chairman of SME Bank, Tan Sri Faizah Mohd Tahir and Chairman of Malaysian Industrial Development Authority, Tan Sri Amirsham A. Aziz.
“The two measures were not popular as seen in the reception but were positive to strengthen and boost resilient of the national economy. In the meantime, the government’s decisions will also be proven right sooner or later. The country has also improved its economic competitiveness after moving to the 18th spot out of 140 countries in the Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 released by the World Economic Forum, compared to the 20th spot last year,” said Najib.
“This proves that Malaysia is not ‘failed state’. We will drive to become a country that is more successful and our ambition to become an advanced economy will come true. Meanwhile, the contributions of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) had increased since 2011, and its growth rate has exceeded the nation’s,” he said.
Najib said the SME sector grew at an average rate of 6.9 per cent compared to the nation’s gross domestic product’s (GDP) 5.4 per cent in the period 2011-2014. He also said that the SME sector is expected to record 6-7 per cent growth compared to the GDP’s 4.5-5.5 per cent in 2015.
He said the country’s strong economic fundamentals and the policies introduced by the National SME Development Council had enabled the sector to consistently record higher growth compared to the country’s. He said the increase in productivity was also vital.
“I hope that through automation and innovation, the aim will be achieved besides enhancing human capital development. The government would help boost the competitiveness of the SMEs so that they would be innovative and have high value-added. This is important to ensure that SME sector is capable of facing a market which is more competitive market with the emergence of ASEAN as a single community and the country joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement if it signed it,” he said.
Najib said the government was also considering additional incentives for the SME sector under Budget 2016 which would be presented on Oct 23. As Finance Minister, he said he would not forget what to do for the SMEs under the Budget 2016, which is in the final stage of preparations.