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NEWS UPDATES 12 July 2009

Najib promises new measures for Malaysia  

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Riding on a wave of rising public support, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday announced a slew of populist measures targeted at the man in the street, to mark his 100th day in office, Singapore’s the Straits Time reported.

Addressing 4,000 people at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, he introduced toll discounts for frequent users of highways, halved licence renewal fees for hawkers and increased the number of taxi permits.

He also gave broad pledges to combat crime and corruption, raise education standards as well as improve infrastructure in East Malaysia.

These goals, said Najib, would be among the government's so-called key performance indicators, which he introduced after he took office on April3.

After Najib took power, he made bold moves to liberalise the economy, including lifting bumiputera quotas in numerous sectors which critics said stymied growth.

But others pointed out that his moves, though helpful, have been aimed at businesses and corporate circles, with little for the man in the street.

Thus the timing of his latest measures could not be better - coming as he ends his critical first 100 days in office on a high note.

A recent opinion poll by Merdeka Centre showed that his approval ratings have surged.

Najib had taken office amid low popularity and public confidence. Even in mid-May, more than a month later, ratings had hovered around 46 percent. Najib was careful to highlight his efforts to reach out to the other races on Saturday, stressing the inclusive '1Malaysia' policy he has been championing.


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