It’s not unusual to revise GDP target, says Anwar

PKR president and former finance minister Anwar Ibrahim says the Cabinet must be given time to analyse the available data.

PETALING JAYA: Anwar Ibrahim said there was nothing unusual about revising the gross domestic product (GDP) growth target, following Bank Negara Malaysia’s report of a below-than-expected fourth quarter 2019 economic performance.

Anwar, who is a former finance minister, said there had been instances in the past where the government had to review the target due to a financial crisis or problems beyond the nation’s control.

“It is not something abnormal in any country. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are continuously reviewing their growth targets,” he told reporters in Port Dickson.

Yesterday, the central bank announced that the GDP for the last quarter of 2019 was 3.6% due to lower output of palm oil, crude oil and natural gas, among others.

It was the lowest quarterly growth rate in a decade.

This resulted in the opposition taking Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to task for declaring in November that the country could achieve economic growth of 4.7%.

Anwar, who is also PKR president, said he was certain the Cabinet would consider the new factors to either revise downward or sustain the growth target.

“But they must be given time to analyse the data.”

He also rubbished claims that the government was not doing anything to address the disruption in the commodities sector.

Meanwhile, when asked to comment on allegations that Ummo president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was going around collecting statutory declarations (SD) in support of Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s leadership as prime minister, Anwar said the focus should be on the economy.

“No government should ‘kowtow’ to the demands of the opposition who are desperate and have their own problems.”

Anwar said he was aware that these allegations had implicated one or two individuals in PKR.

“Our commitment stands, there is no change in Pakatan Harapan. We continue to support Tun Mahathir as the seventh PM.”