SINTOK, July 8 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today criticised certain parties for claiming that the Unity Government under his leadership had failed to manage the country’s economy after taking over the government eight months ago.
He said to the contrary, several economic indicators were showing a positive trend, including the growth rate of 5.6 per cent recorded in the first quarter of this year, which was higher than China, Singapore and Indonesia.
“Fact number two, the unemployment rate is down, the only problem is that there is some unemployment among the youth, including graduates, but the unemployment rate is better than during Perikatan Nasional’s reign.
“The third fact is that investments which came in the first quarter (of this year) totalled RM71 billion, this is not just a matter of ‘sign-sign’ (merely signing agreements) no, I went to China, who gave the undertaking to jointly invest RM170 billion, among the biggest in history of Malaysia,” he said during the ‘Temu Anwar’ programme at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) here today.
The Prime Minister said apart from that, the inflation rate had also decreased to 2.8 per cent, thus helping to control the increase in the prices of goods, although some price indices were still high.
He said there was only one economic indicator that was going down, namely the value of the ringgit, and it was being used by certain parties to say the government had failed to manage the economy.
“But those on the other side (opposition) are making noise, when they (were ruling) was the ringgit strong? During their time the ringgit was worse than it is now, but they don’t mention it.
“How many economic factors are there? Growth, unemployment, inflation, investment and (value of the) ringgit, there are five. If we excel in four (factors), we can improve the remaining one slowly. When you (opposition) were in power (before this), those four factors were doing bad including the ringgit,” he said.
Meanwhile, Anwar said that as Finance Minister he had never set aside the role of the state governments, especially those under the opposition, in matters of economic development.
However, he explained that most investments received by the states were through Federal Government agencies.
“If the state government is aligned (with the Federal Government) then it will be easier, not to mention if the leadership is polite and wise in maintaining relations, then that will be more helpful.
“For example, in Kedah, the highest investment is in the Kulim Hi-Tech Park, where almost the entire amount brought in was with the assistance of the Federal Government,” he said.