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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        18  February 2011

Six percent Malaysian growth is “crucial”

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Malaysia is on the way to achieve its developed nation target after gross domestic product (GDP) growth exceeded 6 percent last year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The figure is crucial as the country needed to maintain a minimum growth rate of 6 percent for the next 10 years to achieve Vision 2020.

The official GDP figures would be announced today, but Najib said: “As a preview, I can tell you that the figure has exceeded 6 percent.

Speaking at the launch of a programme on strengthening the Dewan Negara at Parliament House yesterday, Najib said Malaysia could achieve developed nation status if it had an annual average growth of 6 percent over 10 years.

At a press conference later, he said the growth rate was achievable unless affected by a global crisis.

“We are a major trading nation. If there is no external demand, it will affect us. “If external factors are positive, we can attain moderate positive growth,” he said.

Asked if Malaysia was capable of recording double-digit growth in future, Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said: “No, we cannot. Because you must remember that the Malaysian economy is much bigger than it was 20 years ago.As we approach to become a matured economy, we cannot get double-digit (growth). I think 6 percent is relatively high. We have to be realistic. No developed nation can achieve double-digit.”

Najib said he faced new challenges as prime minister due to the changing political environment. The challenges include climate change, globalisation and the social media.

He said climate change had caused natural disasters such as the recent floods in Segamat, while the effects of globalisation meant that the national economy was affected by the global economic crisis.

“The economic crisis in 2009 was not our fault. It is the United States’ fault. But we were affected. Luckily, we have recovered,” he said.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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