Najib: Gov't observes prudent spending

(Updated )

The government is observing prudent spending and within limits, and was certainly not extravagant in its expenditure, said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.  

"We cannot be hasty to spend and be drawn into spending.

"If we borrow, it must be for productive investment," said Najib, who is also the finance minister.  

Speaking at the Finance Ministry's Excellence Service Award ceremony in Putrajaya today, he said the government would ensure the nation's debt level remained below 55 percent.

In 2016, Najib said the national debt level stood at 52.6 percent.

According to Najib, the economic fundamentals are very good and positive as the government has taken brave and appropriate steps in this regard.

He said the government was not choosing to merely rake in popularity, but willing to sacrifice in the interest of the country over short and long terms.  

"If we are like the opposition, we do not need to embrace reality, rather, can promise anything for the sake of gaining support. But they may not be able to do it if they take power.

"As the government we cannot adopt that attitude. Any decision we take must be practical and be held accountable. The decisions we take must be right, or else the result will have a negative impact on the economy and the people," he added.

Najib said the right steps and views of the government had enabled it to manage the country's economy and finances well, despite the prevailing uncertainty and unpredictability.

"This year, we will work towards further enhancing the performance of the economy to register growth of between 4.3 percent and 4.8 percent. At the same time, we see that when we promised fiscal consolidation in 2009, the deficit was at 6.7 percent and last year, at 3.1 percent.

"This year, we hope to achieve 3 percent. So, little by little, we are are heading towards a balanced budget and will achieve the objective we are reaching out for, one day," said Najib.

Elaborating further, the prime minister said the government had taken steps such as implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

This is despite some quarters saying it would make the government unpopular.

"I was willing to do it as prime minister as I believed the GST is a right move for the economy. When oil prices fell, we lost RM35 billion in national revenue. If not for the GST, the economy would have wilted.

"But, with the GST this year, we expect revenue in the range of RM45 billion. This means we can ensure the country's revenue is at a good level and undertake all services planned for the people," he added.

On the Urban Transformation Centres (UTCs), Najib said there was no country in the world that had a similar service that ensured receiving a passport within one hour or treatment at a 1Malaysia Klinik for just a RM1 payment.

"Believe that the country is on the right track and in actively pursuing our aspirations, we can achieve what we hope for. I want a big leap towards placing Malaysia among the top 20 countries globally by 2050. This is our aspiration, hope and dream, and I believe we can achieve it,' he added.

Najib also shared two principles of AliBaba founder Jack Ma, namely "big results' and "super efficient", to help Malaysia make a quantum leap in economic growth.

Meanwhile, Treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah in his speech, said 6.9 million applications had been approved for the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) 2017.

He said the pioneer My Beautiful New Home (My BN Home) project ini Lekir, Sitiawan, had achieved good progress with a housing unit being completed in nine days and 50 units being projected to be ready in three months.

"The Finance Ministry has identified new UTCs to be established in Perlis, Negeri Sembilan, Penang and Selangor," he added.

- Bernama


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