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RESPONSIBILTY: ‘Government returns to the people the extra revenue it obtained’
PUTRAJAYA: THE government exercised responsibility by returning to the people the extra revenue it obtained, instead of just promising something it could not deliver or which would harm the country, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
He was referring to promises made by certain quarters to reduce fuel prices, abolish National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans, abolish tolls and raise the minimum wage.
Najib said one did not have to be an intellectual to know that all these could not be carried out.
“However, for those who made the promises, what mattered most to them was to come to power,” he said at the Prime Minister’s Department’s monthly assembly, here, yesterday.
Present was Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Najib said Malaysia was in a much better shape than it was made out to be, as seen by the positive effects from transformation programmes.
In highlighting a gap between reality and perception of the country, Najib said Malaysia had achieved 4.7 per cent economic growth in the first quarter of this year, while the construction sector grew more than 15 per cent.
More people have also visited the country and Malaysia won praise from United States senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman for its success.
The two, who visited Malaysia last week, were impressed with the country’s “amazing” economic progress and said it could be a model for the world as it was a Muslim country that embraced free enterprise, freedom
The country, Najib said, had moved up to 14th place from 16th in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness report.
The report ranked Malaysia 14th among 142 countries in quality of education and second in the Asean region.
“In some countries, the reality is worse compared with the perception, but in Malaysia, it is the opposite.”
However, he said, more could be done to reduce the gap between reality and perception including reviewing the country’s front liners, such as Immigration and Customs officers and how they dealt with people, including through emails.
He joked that, at times, only the civil servants’ name tags that had smiling pictures. He said if Malaysians were more hospitable, this could reduce the gap.
Najib said although the country was on the right track, one should not be satisfied with the achievements but challenge oneself to do better.
The government, he said, was waiting to see an increase in productivity by civil servants following an increase in salary of between seven and 13 per cent.
“We have a social contract with civil servants. We have increased your salaries and allowances, so please raise your productivity. In this way, the country can achieve greater success.”
He said it was vital to ensure the country’s economic growth continued in light of the unpredictable international scenario, including the bankrupting of Greece and the slow recovery of the US economy.
Malaysia, he said, had no choice but to strengthen its domestic and national resilience to meet its targeted economic growth of five to six per cent.