DAVOS: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today spoke to captains of large local and foreign corporations here to assure them of Malaysia's economic future, fresh from announcing pre-emptive measures to ensure Malaysia's continued growth amid the weak global economy.
Speaking at a business luncheon organised by Khazanah Nasional, Invest KL and the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA), Najib said despite Malaysia anticipating 2015 to be a challenging year, the country's economic fundamentals remain strong, underpinned by comfortable levels of external reserves, low external debt, low unemployment and healthy inflows of foreign direct investments.
Najib arrived here yesterday for the 45th edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The luncheon was attended by about 100 corporate captains and government officials, of which 55 were foreign-based giants.
Najib also linked Malaysia's resilience to the Asean region, saying the 10-member regional group which Malaysia chairs this year was a potentially viable investment gateway to greater Asia.
In recent years, the rise of Asia has inevitably been one such topic for discussion. The number of Chinese and Indian delegates at the WEF has more than quadrupled since the millennium.
He said Southeast Asia is emerging as a new economic power as the region is moving towards becoming an economic union unlike seen before.
Najib said as Chair of Asean this year, Malaysia will play a key role in forging the grouping's future.
"We will do our part to build a stronger, more prosperous and more open Southeast Asia," he said.
Najib said the ingredients towards a successful Asean are all present, and so is the will.
“We believe that an economically-integrated Asean will benefit the entire region and as a founding member, we have strong connections within the region and with the rest of Asia," he said.
In the coming months, he said Malaysia will work closely with other Asean members to ensure the grouping delivers on key initiatives, especially its establishment as a single regional community and production base and declaration of Asean's post-2015 vision.
For Malaysia, he said the nation has always a good story to tell and that it has been realistic with and confident of its plans. Najib quoted the ongoing Economic Transformation Programme as one which will bring Malaysia's economy to a developed nation status.
Najib said despite the adjustments he announced in Putrajaya on Tuesday, major projects will continue to be pursued. They include the Kuala Lumpur MRT project, the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high speed rail project and the Pengerang integrated petrochemical complex in Johor.
Najib made it clear that Malaysia was well prepared to stand firm in the face of global economic headwinds.