The Malaysian economy recorded a growth of 10.1% for first quarter of 2010. This is the highest quarterly growth in 10 years with the last such high of 11.7% in 2000.
That 2000 high growth signaled the upturn in the economy after undergoing the currency crisis of 1999. The latest figure indicates the economy is finally emerging after the slowdown from the global economic crisis. It proves Najib's stimulus plan is bearing fruit.
Voters in Sibu should use this opportunity to endorse PM's economic agenda by giving Barisan Nasional a resounding victory in Sibu.
After 7 days of campaign and the sickening campaign by DAP to play on the sentiment of the local Foochow Chinese, a good majority will be the much needed answer to the racial and religous slant of the DAP campaign.
If the Sibu Chinese realised, it is Najib's programs and Government that will meet their expectation for the peace and prosperity to pursue their commercial interest and family economic stability.
The DAP campaign in Sibu started on a note for change but took a drastic change for a more vicious and extreme stance to instigate Chinese and Christian sentiment.
According to Lim Kit Siang's calculation, DAP is targeting 80% of the 65% Chinese voters to secure about 50% of the votes. In past elections, DAP could only secure at best 60% of Chinese votes.
To the chagrin of the local DAP leaders, DAP Semananjung leaders have dominated the DAP campaign to the extend of instilling fear within Chinese voters. Such extreme words of accusing Malay-led Government would drive out the Chinese of their land were uttered in ceramah. And, Mat Sabu willingly endorse Lim Kit Siang and DAP leaders as good people in the same ceramah.
Theresa Kok and Ngeh Koo Ham pursued to split the Christian votes on the Methodist church platform to criticise and accused UMNO Government of driving towards Islamic state. They went to the extent of lying to the politically innocent East Malaysian crowd and endorsed by former Perak Menteri Besar, Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin that PAS is not pursuing for Islamic state.
PKR and PAS was assigned to split the Malay and Iban voters by sowing discontent using local issues such as the complex Native Customary Rights land, basic needs and development.
The irony of DAP's 7-points Manifesto was that DAP promised to solve the local woes by giving a two-year commitment only after DAP takeover the state and federal government. That is as good as no promise.
The issues raised and promises made by DAP to the voters, particularly Chinese voters and PKR and PAS to the Malay and Iban voters are in conflict with both their ideology, struggle and issues they raised in Peninsular and with each others' ideology, struggle and issues.
Strangely, PKR spoke out about Rosli Dobby and Malay nationalism in last night's ceramah to the Malay. They provoked the Malays not to vote for Chinese SUPP. Till noon, this blogger is still struggling to figure out if DAP candidate's Wong Ho Leng is not Chinese.
BN had problems with their recent slackening of Sibu and Lanang ADUNs and machinery had left personal attack levied at Ketua Menteri Tan Sri Taib Mahmud left unanswered. That was overcome by the presence of Dato Seri Najib and Tan Sri Muhyiddin to meet the common people have really touched the heart of the locals.
The negative and aggresive campaign of Pakatan had an initial impact but its influence on voters have since wane off. Common sense should prevail with the recovering economy.
May 14, 2010 13:20 PM
Economists: Najib Got It Right
KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 (Bernama) -- Economists have given Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak full marks for putting the Malaysian economy on "full throttle" mode.
Dr Yeah Kim Leng, Group Chief Economist of RAM Holdings, acknowledged that Malaysia's quick economic recovery has been due to Najib's stimulus plan.
"When Prime Minister Najib took office, it was at the height of the global financial crisis. What we see here is that the PM has passed the most critical challenge of ensuring that we can withstand the synchronised global recession.
"The policies that are implemented have mitigated the effects of the global financial crisis to the extent that Malaysia did not suffer a hard landing," he said.
The Malaysian economy recorded a growth of 10.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2010, its highest quarterly growth in 10 years. The last time Malaysia charted quarterly growth as high was in 2000 when it hit 11.7 per cent.
Dr Yeah attributed the record quarterly performance to Najib's sound policies and in particular, the second stimulus package which had helped to boost confidence and reduce job losses.
He said the prime minister had steered Malaysia through a rough course and "that phase has passed".
"Malaysia's recovery is stronger than projected by market analysts. We recovered in the fourth quarter of last year and the economy expanded by 4.5 per cent," he pointed out.
"Of course, the sharp annual growth is also because the economy contracted last year. So when you compare year-on-year, we have a cyclical rebound," he explained.
In view of the prime minister's foresight, Dr Yeah said Malaysia was well-positioned towards the next economic boom.
Equally upbeat is France's Sorbonne-trained economist Datuk Dr Norraesah Mohamad, who said the prime minister's "quick response" to jumpstart the economy was working according to plan.
According to her, one strong reason for the recovery was the RM70 billion stimulus package injected into the economy last year and was still filtering its way down.
Meanwhile, Najib has indicated that the GDP growth meant more and better jobs for Malaysians.
Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz announced an increase in interest rate to counter any spike in inflation following the high growth.
The ringgit also ended higher against the US dollar on Thursday on the back of the country's strong gross domestic product (GDP) data for the first quarter this year.
The local currency was traded at 3.1950/1000 yesterday compared with 3.2030/2070 on Wednesday.
A dealer said the ringgit's strength hinged on the inflow of funds into the equity markets.
"The ringgit will be traded between 3.18 and 3.17 against the greenback soon," he said.
Extolling the benefits of a strong ringgit, ex-Cabinet Minister and MP for Johor Baharu Datuk Seri Utama Shahrir Samad said that "a stronger ringgit will encourage the import of capital goods which will contribute to innovation and automation of industries in the country."
"It will also reduce the government's subsidy bill since petrol, sugar and flour, as the main subsidised products, are all denominated in US dollars. With a reduction in subsidies, the government's operational expenditure and its deficit will also be reduced," he added.
April 30, 2010
Bank Negara expects growth forecast to be raised
Mid-year review likely and figures could be used in Budget: governor
By S JAYASANKARAN
IN KUALA LUMPUR
MALAYSIA'S central bank is likely to raise its economic growth forecast for 2010 due to the continued improvement of the economy, Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said yesterday.
'We realise there's potential for an upward revision,' Ms Zeti told national news agency Bernama. 'The review could be done in the middle of this year where the figures could be used in the Budget.'
The central bank had previously forecast that the economy would expand by between 4.5 and 5.5 per cent in real gross domestic product terms.
Prime Minister Najib Razak, meanwhile, has said that he hoped the economy could grow 'by at least 6 per cent.'
But growth could be considerably higher than that. Indeed, a slew of recent reports from securities houses have suggested that Malaysia could register growth of over 7 per cent this year, with the most bullish forecast (8 per cent) coming from AmResearch.
One reason remains last year's sizeable fiscal package (RM67 billion or S$28.7 billion in all) which is still feeding through the Malaysian economy. Indeed, many of the infrastructure projects announced last year - the light rail transit system upgrade and the Pahang-Selangor interstate water transfer package, for example - have yet to be started.
Meanwhile, exports have bounced back strongly. According to HSBC, export growth for the first two quarters of this year could 'be over 20 per cent' year-on-year.
Rising consumer confidence has also boosted domestic spending. According to HSBC, private consumption is expected to grow 8 per cent year-on-year compared with less than 2 per cent at the end of 2009. This is partly due to the rising prices of palm oil (50 per cent higher than in 2000) and rubber (92 per cent higher).
Indeed, the rapidity of the recovery has led to policy responses from the central bank. It allowed the ringgit to appreciate sharply and it was the first central bank in the region to raise rates (to 2.5 per cent from 2.25 per cent) and is expected to raise rates further in May,
The HSBC report said that Bank Negara was likely to raise rates all the way to 3.25 per cent which was about the level just before the recession hit.
The danger for the Malaysian economy, according to private economists, remains the budget deficit (7.6 per cent of GDP last year) and a growing public debt. The latter is now over 52 per cent of GDP and the worry for Kuala Lumpur is that the revenue base isn't growing. More to the point, the government is likely to return to the debt market to finance its deficit.
Meanwhile, Mr Najib's bold plans to cut subsidies and introduce new taxes in goods and services - both meant to pare the deficit - still remain on the drawing board. They will have to be implemented if Kuala Lumpur wants a sustainable recovery.