Saudi Aramco’s US$7 billion (RM30.9 billion) investment in the Petronas Pengerang Integrated Complex in Johor, is a major testament that Malaysia is not on the verge of bankruptcy.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said it was impossible for the Saudi Arabia state-owned oil company to commit to such a large investment in a country that was going bankrupt.
“I raise this question because, as you know, there has been a lot of fake news lately. Unfortunately, the government’s opponents here in Malaysia often prefer not to engage with us on the facts.
“They create false propaganda ― like the idea that this is a state on the verge of bankruptcy ― some of which sadly gains traction internationally,” he said in his keynote address at the 2017 Global Transformation Forum here today.
He ticked off such action as nothing less than economic sabotage for selfish, personal political gains which would affect all Malaysians.
“The Aramco deal was almost wrecked by such fake news. After all, many would not expect a former leader to tell lies about his own country.
“So when he tells people that Malaysia is facing bankruptcy, some believe him. In fact, he knows he is telling lies,” said Najib, who is also the Finance Minister.
He said the truth was, however, the opposite, with millions of jobs created, strong and consistent growth, as well as, low inflation and unemployment, in addition to the reduction in fiscal deficit to 3.1 per cent last year from 6.7 per cent in 2009.
“PIC (Petronas Pengerang Integrated Complex) is very important for us, and that US$7 billion (investment) shows you the confidence Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company has in Malaysia.
“It will be a huge engine of growth in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and at the gateway into the Asia-Pacific, the most thriving region on the planet with over 60 per cent of the world’s population,” he said
The investmet would also provide training and jobs for locals, lead to the development of auxiliary industries, spur entrepreneurship and be a huge boost to human capital and to the knowledge economy, Najib said.
Najib said that other countless measures have also been put in place to ensure continued transformation into an innovative, knowledge-based economy, with sustainability and inclusivity at its core.
“We are working for a nation at ease with others, and proud of its unique and vibrant diversity – because I’m not just concerned about gross domestic product (GDP) or headline figures, but also public happiness and the well-being of each and every Malaysian.
“Our ongoing investment in human capital and connectivity, and our ongoing economic transformation and reforms, have had results.
“One of which is that outsiders look at Malaysia, and they see a place they’d like to do business – and increasingly so,” he said.
Najib said it has been proven by the value of foreign investments, which rose to RM59 billion last year compared with RM36 billion in 2015.
“This leads to healthy and growing partnerships. Take Osram, a global leader in lighting manufacturing. It has already invested RM3 billion in Malaysia.
“It is now investing an additional RM1.4 billion for an expansion project that will be the newest and largest six-inch LED chip production site in the world.
“Would they be doing that if, as some of our opposition politicians claimed, Malaysia was a failed state?” the prime minister asked.
However, Najib said that there were still some downside risks and challenges, such as managing household debt, the need to improve productivity and move up the value chain, and the problem of household savings not being sufficient to last people’s lifetimes.
“But, we will address these head on with appropriate measures because we recognise such risks and such challenges.
“The bigger picture is that neutral observers see what we have done, what we continue to do and our commitment to reform, and they see the results of our transformation programme, thus far,” he said.
Najib said majors rating agencies, as well as, the International Monetary Fund have continued to give positive comments on the nation’s economic progress.
“And just this month, BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania released their 2017 Best Countries Report.
“It said that Malaysia was the best country in the world to invest in. And, in this category, we were, and I quote: “the clear frontrunner”.
“This is the real story, the real facts and the real news about Malaysia’s transformation story ,” he concluded.
Source : @ Bernama