10 January, 2009

Malaysia Not In Recession, not now !

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Malaysia is not facing a recession now despite the global financial meltdown that has badly hit the United States and Europe.

"We are not in recession now," he said.

"We are not having too much problem in the fourth quarter. Even the growth at two percent in the quarter, it would give us an average of more than five percent,"

"Definitely more than five percent," Abdullah said in responding to comments from former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah that the Malaysian economy was bad.

"I don't think that's right. Maybe he doesn't have all the information that we have. If it is really that bad, we would have be in recession by now," he said.

"For next year, we all know we are going to face hard times. We have to place ourselves to face all these. The RM7 billion stimulus package, which has been set aside, has gone down partially for immediate implementation," he added.

The government has projected the gross domestic product (GDP) for last year at five percent and this year at 3.5 percent.

The Malaysian economy expanded by 4.7 percent in the third quarter of 2008.

"That (package) will save us. That will prevent us from facing the threat that may come. It will also help us to continue with economic activities," Abdullah said, adding that the basic economy must be improved while real economy must not be affected.

"So far, our real economy is not affected (and) the stimulus package will help us," he said.

Asked whether the government would revise the 2009 Budget, Abdullah said that no revision was planned at the moment, "except for what has been announced".

"But we are on the lookout. If we need to make adjustments... we will make adjustments," he said.

"We have to be realistic. We cannot afford to be sitting down and in denial. This is not the time to bluff the rakyat. It is not the time to just say things to make the rakyat feel happy. If we say it is okay... it is okay. If we say it is under control... it is true that it is under control," he added.

Abdullah said that the government could not afford to say "a wrong thing and lie to the rakyat".

"We can't do that. We are a responsible government," he said.

The Prime Minister also said that at the moment the government has a serious responsibility to ensure that the country's economy remained resilient despite the current critical situation.

"As much as we can predict, we can look after the economy," he said.

On the possibility of a second stimulus package, Abdullah said that he could not give details at the moment.

"That (second stimulus package) is only indication that was given by Datuk (Seri) Najib (Tun Razak). That if necessary he (Najib) said there may be a second stimulus package," he said.

Najib, who is the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, said recently that a second stimulus package would be introduced if needed.


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