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(File pix) Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan. Pix by Mohd Khairul Helmy Mohd Din

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan has accused two news organisations; The Malaysian Insight and The Edge of painting Malaysia’s economy in a negative light.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, in a statement today, said the two had continued a “campaign to sabotage the Malaysian economy” which was detrimental to the people’s economic welfare.

He also accused the two organisations of being controlled by the opposition.

“Most recently, they have taken the latest report by the World Bank on East Asia, and blatantly lied about what it says about Malaysia.

“They start by claiming ‘Out of the 15 Asian economies analysed in the report, Malaysia and a few others are the only ones expected to worsen’.

“However, in reality, this is what the report actually says: ‘Malaysia is expected to grow more rapidly, reflecting improved confidence, higher investment, and the recovery in world trade’,” he said adding that this alone was a testament to the success of the government’s long-term plans.

He said the report pointed out the success of governments in several countries in reducing fiscal deficits last year, including Malaysia and Mongolia, but that the deficits remained high or were on track to increase in many others.

“That is because the government has taken the hard decisions that may not be popular but are in the real interest of the people – while others have not,” he said.

Rahman, who is Barisan Nasional strategic communications chief, said the World Bank report also said growth in private consumption spending and rising exports of both primary commodities and manufactures contributed to Malaysia’s accelerating growth.

The report, he said, also stated that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 5.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 and 5.8 per cent in the second quarter —its best performance since the first quarter of 201.

“…which does not sound like a worsening economy, as the opposition-led media would have you believe, does it?

“They also state that Malaysia recalibrated its budget to lower world oil prices in 2016, which has brought its fiscal consolidation program back on track - acknowledging that a responsible government has done what was necessary to keep the economy on track,” he said adding that World Bank’s report had urged for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to be more widely applied, unlike the opposition.

Rahman said the report also mentioned that the incidence of extreme poverty was negligible in Malaysia and pointed out the country’s success in being among the top tourist destination as well as leading the region in its effectiveness of air transport infrastructure, as evident in the number of takeoffs per capita (14 for every 1,000 citizens in Malaysia).

Citing the report by one of the organisations, Rahman said all Malaysians should certainly read the World Bank report to draw their own conclusions about whether Barisan Nasional was missing additional opportunities for growth.

“They certainly should (read the report). For here is what the World Bank concluded: ‘GDP growth in Malaysia accelerated during the first half of 2017 to 5.7 percent (year-on-year), supported by strengthening domestic and external demand. As a result, Malaysia’s economy is expected to grow at 5.2 percent in 2017. The outlook remains positive as the Malaysian economy continues to experience broad-based growth across a range of diversified sectors’,” he pointed out.

Rahman said while the report warned about external risks, there was nothing selective about the quotes he extracted.

“Anyone who says so should read the report in full. While it naturally warns about the dangers of external risks, it is full of praise for how Malaysia is doing.

“This is exactly the same as the last World Bank report in June – which was specifically on Malaysia, not the region, which concluded that the country’s macroeconomic management has been constantly proactive and effective in navigating near term challenges in the economic environment,” he added.

Rahman said the facts remain the true record of the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and urged the people to be proud of that economic record.

“All those who lie about it for political ends should be ashamed – for they shame their country and their fellow Malaysians. Their fake news does not stand up to the scrutiny of what global institutions say about Malaysia.

“They know that this government has an economic plan – and the plan has delivered and is continuing to deliver for the benefit of all Malaysians,” he concluded.

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