12 April 2016‎

This morning, Prime Minister Najib Razak addressed senior figures from the international financial community at Invest Malaysia, Bursa Malaysia’s flagship annual event in Kuala Lumpur.

Outlining his economic plan, the Prime Minister said:

"In 2010, just six years ago, I introduced our New Economic Model – standing right here at Invest Malaysia. This model was designed to transform Malaysia into a high income nation, inclusive of all Malaysians, with no one left behind, and built on sustainable foundations that would serve both the people and generations to come.

“We had an economic plan. And […] we can say with certainty: our economic plan is working.”

Providing evidence, the Prime Minister highlighted that between 2009 when he took office and 2015, Malaysia’s gross national income has increased by nearly 50 per cent, foreign direct investment rose by more than 22 per cent per annum, and the size of the capital market increased by more than 150 per cent to RM2.8 trillion.

Furthermore, despite global headwinds in 2015, the Malaysian economy grew by 5% over the year, making it one of the fastest growing countries in the region. And, this year, exports and imports increased by 6.7 and 1.6 per cent in February 2016 compared to the previous month, with the trade surplus widening from RM5.4 billion to RM7.5 billion over the same period.

And these economic results were achieved despite sustained political attacks on the economy to undermine the Government. The Prime Minister said:

“The ringgit is Asia’s best performing currency this year to-date. This may surprise my political opponents, who said that if I continued in my job the ringgit would fall to 4.80 to the dollar. Now it’s 3.88 to the dollar!

“As Bloomberg reported just under two weeks ago, “Overseas inflows into Malaysia are the biggest in Southeast Asia” and “Kuala Lumpur has the lowest volatility among the region's markets”.

“And the world’s longest bull market continues at Bursa Malaysia – aided, according to some, by my Cabinet reshuffle on 28th July 2015!

“It’s very clear that the markets like strong leadership, political stability and a credible economic plan.

“We have proved the sceptics wrong. Now it is time to move on, and to refocus on further strengthening Malaysia’s economy and on the good news about our country.”

Citing accolades of the Malaysian economy by a cross-section of respected international bodies – such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Economic Forum, Fitch, IMD, ACCA and KPMG – the Prime Minister said:

“They are recognition of achievements that have not come to pass by chance or good luck. They are the result of our economic plan, and of the government’s continuous efforts to make Malaysia a business-friendly environment. They are the result of our strong commitment to strengthen, liberalise and open up our economy.

“What we have achieved would not have been possible if the country was not administered with proper governance and a strong sense of responsibility towards Malaysia and its people.”

At the same time, the Prime Minister recognised that there is more work to be done. In particular, he spoke of the need to raise the level of education and skills, increase investment towards research and development, and boost the participation of women in the economy.

Malaysia has already made significant progress towards each of these objectives, and the Prime Minister invited the private sector to increase its involvement and form a new partnership to drive further investment into Malaysia.

Citing Malaysia’s leading role in the ASEAN Free Trade Area, ASEAN Economic Community, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and Trans Pacific Partnership, the Prime Minister outlined the opportunities these initiatives present to investors, saying:

“This is all part of our belief in open regionalism. Where there are opportunities for free trade, we want Malaysia to be part of them. Because we believe that is good for our economy and good for our people.”

In closing, the Prime Minister said:

“It is clear that we have an economic plan, that it has worked, and that it is still working. It is a long-term plan that works for the benefit of Malaysians not just today, but tomorrow, and in the years and decades to come.

“To take one example: the government has halved our dependency on oil and gas from 41.3 percent of total revenue in 2009 when I took office, to 21.5 percent for 2015. Think where we would be today if we had not done that. That was another tough decision, but we took it because it was right.

“And that is what you can count on this government to do. The right thing. Even if it’s unpopular. For the good of the people. For the good of investors. For the future of this country and all whom we are glad to welcome here.

“That is how we have built a resilient, sustainable and inclusive economy; and that is why I urge you to join the foreign investors who have already bought RM5.5 billion worth of domestic stocks in the first quarter of 2016 – and invest in Malaysia.”

Please see the full text of the Prime Minister’s speech here:


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