Malaysia PM unveils economic reforms

Malaysia's prime minister unveiled long-promised economic reforms, with plans to reduce race-based programmes.

Malaysia PM unveils economic reforms

Malaysia's prime minister on Tuesday unveiled long-promised economic reforms that he said would make this Southeast Asian country a developed nation by 2020 but he provided few clues as to how he would get there.

Najib Razak's "New Economic Model" said Malaysia would grow by 6.5 percent a year from 2011 to 2020 so as to be able to join the club of developed nations. He pledged to cut the budget deficit and introduce new taxes to do so.

"We can't afford to duck the issues any longer. If we are to truly tackle inequality and become a beacon of progress in the region, we must create a sense of urgency to reform," Najib told the "Invest Malaysia" business summit.

The new plans will be sent for public consultation. The full list of plans will be announced formally in June.

The ringgit currency which has rallied 4.58 percent this year, largely on the back of a rate hike this month from the Malaysian central bank, was little moved after the policy announcement at 3.265 per dollar compared with 3.26 at Monday's close.

Najib, a 56 year old British-trained economist, took office a year ago pledging to reinvigorate his ruling coalition after it stumbled to its worst election results in 2008.

He also said he would remodel Malaysia's commodity and export-dependent economy to attract high value service and technology investments at a tine when countries such as Thailand and Indonesia have drawn an increasing share of investment.

Najib also said two subsidiaries of state oil giant Petronas would be listed and that the Employees Pension Fund, a second state fund, would sell down some of its holdings to boost liquidity on the stock market.

The country once accounted for half of total capital inflows into Southeast Asia's emerging economies that included Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Increasing competition means it now accounts for about a third.

A strong export-led rebound this year will likely see the economy grow by 4.5-5.5 percent, according to Malaysia's central bank. Najib's new economic model is targeting 6.5 percent annual economic growth.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Mart 2010, 14:52

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