Why conflicting time frames for economic recovery, queries Najib’

Former prime minister Najib Razak.

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak today questioned the Pakatan Harapan government’s changing time frame for the country to regain its economic prowess.

In a Facebook posting today, he said the government had initially announced it would need six months for the economy to recover, then it was three years and now it says it will take 10 years.

Najib lamented that the economy before the 14th general election was on the way up, with defict being reduced, the country’s reserves on the rise, external debts falling, dividends of various public funds constantly increasing and Bursa Malaysia stocks at an all-time high.

But after GE14, he said the country’s economy had suffered badly until it will now “take 10 years to recover”.

“By that time, the country’s debts would have really reached RM2 trillion and there won’t be any more national assets to be sold,” he added.

Najib’s comments were sparked by an announcement by PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday that it will take 10 years for Malaysia to regain its economic prowess so that everyone can benefit from its prosperity.

He said the “shared prosperity” initiative introduced by the government recently would ensure that no one group was neglected or left poor as the country progressed.

“That’s why with this new view of shared prosperity put forward, the government hopes that in 10 years, the deficiencies facing the community and country, especially in terms of economic achievement, can be overcome,” he said at a function in Muar.

On April 15, Council of Eminent Persons chairman Daim Zainuddin was reported at a function in Kuala Terengganu as saying that it would take six months to repair the damage left by the previous government and bring the country back on track after PH took over the reins of the government in May last year.

He said PH had to face the people and give an accurate explanation when needed, especially on economic-related matters, so that the people would understand the current situation.

“I think the government needs another six months to fix the situation, not only in terms of economic development but also in other issues. The people need to understand this.”

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, on the other hand, had several times said he was confident that Malaysia can become an economic powerhouse again in the next three years.

In March 19, he said there had been positive developments with a jump in foreign investments.

“Macro economic figures over the last year have been positive and we are confident of returning to our economic tiger status in three years’ time,” Lim said.

He added that foreign direct investment increased by 48% in the past year but domestic investment declined by 17% in the same period.

“Improved trade relations with China saw investments from China increase from RM5 billion a year ago to RM20 billion.”

Lim said foreign investors are also returning after previously staying away due to the 1MDB scandal.

He had previously said that federal government revenue was expected to fall by RM21 billion with the abolition of the goods and services tax (GST). Najib had strongly supported keeping the GST to strengthen the economy.