KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak says Malaysia’s economic growth of 5.9 per cent last year, among the highest in the world, was the result of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) introduced by the government.
The prime minister said the country’s solid economic growth has enabled the government to carry out numerous efforts to improve the rakyat’s standard of living.
“When our income foundations are solid, it is not only the B40 but also the M40 who reap the benefits. And as we had announced during the tabling of the 2018 Budget, their income tax rate has been reduced by two per cent.
“In the area of education, the government subsidises each student RM8,900 annually as part of our bid to provide free education. The government has also introduced the Program Jualan Sentuhan Rakyat and Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia 2.0, which are among the initiatives taken to tackle cost of living issues,” he said.
Najib was speaking at the #Bajet2018 Bersama Rakyat event held at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (PPUKM) Medical Centre, today. The event was streamed live on his Facebook account as well as his blog.
The prime minister said the government had to make many unpopular decisions such as introducing the Goods and Services Tax as well as subsidy rationalisation for the welfare of the people.
“There were many other difficult decisions which I had to make. For example, the Al-Maunah incident, MH370, Lahad Datu and many others but I don’t have to speak on that now, I’ll save those for my memoirs.
“There is no need to worry because I will do my best for the people of Malaysia with the mandate you have given me since 2009. We cannot just think of the present but also of 30 years in the future; I firmly believe that we will emerge as a competitive, fully-developed nation,” he said.
Najib said the abolishment of the Batu Tiga, Sungai Rasau, Bukit Kayu Hitam and the Eastern Dispersal Link Highway in Johor was proof of the government’s concern for the rakyat.
“I don’t believe that we have to pay toll every day. It’s okay in the case of the North-South Highway or Karak, because most of us don’t use it daily. In the case of a former leader, maybe he liked tolls but I don’t.
“That is why we built the Pan-Borneo Highway and made it toll-free. I give my assurance that I will do all I can to eliminate tolls. This is a legacy issue. I will review the decisions made (by past leaders) which have burdened the people, including tolls.”