By Clara Chooi
KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture) today expounded on weaknesses in the Malaysian economy, blaming it on the government’s dependency for pump priming measures, over reliance on petro dollars, the widening public-private investments
The Permatang Pauh MP told Parliament that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s optimism to say the “worst is over” was a stark contrast to the bleakness of the country’s present economic status.
The opposition leader pointed out that although the economy seemed on the mend in the fourth quarter of last year, Malaysia still continued to fall behind other nations in terms of competitive edge and attraction of foreign direct investments.
“At the same time, too much pre-occupation has been given to plans to upgrade the economy into a high value economy that we risk putting aside key economic issues concerning social justice; that should always take centre stage in any economic development agenda in Malaysia,” he told the House.
The former deputy prime minister also said that the government’s efforts to eradicate poverty had borne little fruit, and what was worse, figures from the UN Human Development Report in 2009 showed that Malaysia ranked 66 in terms of economic inequality, behind Singapore (ranked 23), Hong Kong (24), South Korea (26), Brunei (30) and Cuba (51), among others.
He said that despite the government’s incessant dependency on pump priming between the years of 2002 and 2004, the poverty rate still rose 12 per cent in the period.
“This should baffle everyone because this is a period of pump priming when a lot of state financial resources were diverted into the economy. Alas, only cronies and connected people benefit while the poor continued to suffer,” he said.
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