KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia is able to record many achievements that can be proud of even though faced with many challenges, from global market uncertainty, fall in oil prices, to actions to sabotage the economy and tarnish the country by the opposition.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said overall, the nation's economic performance for the first quarter of 2017 remained stable and strong, expanding by 5.6 per cent, with foreign direct investment (FDI) rising to RM17 billion.
Malaysia had received many international recognitions which proved that the policies the government had implemented to continue to strengthen the economy were the right move and bore results, he said in his latest blog posting here today.
Besides the economic achievements, Najib, who is also Finance Minister, also shared the country's accomplishments in foreign investment, development, quality of life, education, and others.
Among them, international agency PricewaterHouseCoopers has placed Malaysia at the 25th spot among global economic powerhouses with gross domestic product of (GDP) of US$1.5 trillion (US$1 = RM4.26) by 2030.
"The World Bank has also recognised Malaysia's economy by revising upwards its economic growth forecast for 2017 to 4.9 per cent. In fact, the economic growth projection for 2018 and 2019 has also been revised upwards to 4.9 per cent and 5.0 per cent, an increase of 0.4 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively," he said.
Recently, a Bloomberg report titled, 'The Ringgit Is Easily Asia's Strongest Currency', has put the Malaysian ringgit as the most stable major Asian currency in the first quarter of this year.
At 6 pm yesterday, the local currency was traded at 4.2965/2995 from 4.2920/2950 compared with the US dollar last Friday.
Touching on the FDI, Najib said, 2017 also witnessed huge FDI flows into the country, a sign of investors' confidence in Malaysia's economic strength.
"If in 2016, we had succeeded to bring in a lot of foreign investments from China, a result of my visit to the republic with the signing of memorandum of understandings (MOUs) worth RM144 billion, we have received more foreign investments not only from China but also Saudi Arabia, India and others," he said.
He said the country has received some RM31.08 billion in investments following the first visit of Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
The investments came through Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Saudi ARAMCO) in the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project in Pengerang, Johor, he said.
"Beside the foreign direct investments, King Salman also showed interest to increase three-fold the scholarships for Malaysian students to study in Saudi Arabia and increased the haj quota from 27,900 to 30,200," he said.
Najib said his visit to India resulted in the signing of 31 MOUs worth RM158.4 billion, and through letters of intent worth RM1.6 billion.
"Although the Malaysian economy received recognition from internationally-certified organisations and foreign investor confidence, there are economic experts from the opposition who are tarnishing the country's economy only for their personal political needs," he said.
Najib said with the investments from China after his visit there, many from the opposition had said that Malaysia's sovereignty was sold to China, but surprisingly there were also foreign investments coming from Saudi Arabia, India and many other countries.
"In reality, although the opposition continues to spread allegations and false news to tarnish Malaysia and its economy, the government will be responsible and strive for the best for our rakyat. In this case, we will continue to welcome foreign investments as it will add value to our economy and also generate employment opportunities for the rakyat," he said.
Najib said there were so many forums, roadshows, discussions, brainstorming sessions and sharing of ideas through social media for the first six months of this year with regards to preparing the country for the National Transformation 2050.
"Among the main projects for InfraRakyat are Pan Borneo Highway, High-Speed Rail Kuala Lumpur-Singapura, The East Coast Rail Line project and the Mass Rapid Transit.
He said In the field of education, the government takes pride that five of the world's top 300 universities were in Malaysia - Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
"I have also launched the Bumiputera Education Exploration programme, where we seek out Bumiputra students who want to pursue further education but could not afford to do so, and give them an equal footing in their efforts to improve their lives," he said.
Najib said in terms of improving the quality of life of the people, the government has introduced numerous initiatives in the fist half of 2017, like the 'Let's Help The People' programme, which involved providing the needy with basic home furnishing, restoring their homes and even building them a new one.
"We have recorded numerous achievements, including creating a Digital Free Trade Zone and a Criminal Court for Sexual Crime Against Minors.
"These achievements are the result of the determined effort by all levels of society, from the top leadership right down to the grassroots and ultimately, the people on the street," he said.
He said the government would increase its effort and strive to maintain the momentum of success and achievements, not only for the second half of 2017 but in the years to come.