BN2008 News

Malaysian Election: Economy Emerges as Key Issue

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (ots/PRNewswire) -

    - Prime Minister Badawi: "This election is between proven leadership on the economy or unaffordable and impossible promises."

    Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi today urged voters in Malaysia's general election to focus on the "real issue" of the economy and which party is best placed to guarantee the future prosperity of all Malaysians.

    The prime minister contrasted his government's "unparalleled and proven economic performance" with the opposition's "unaffordable and impossible promises which would inevitably lead to ever-higher spending, ever-higher prices and ever-higher taxes."

    He urged the electorate to give him "a renewed mandate for greater prosperity for all in the future" when they go to the polls on Saturday.

    Malaysia's economy expanded at a rate of 6.3 percent in 2007, with a jump in GDP growth of 7.3 percent in the final quarter. The Prime Minister earlier this week said he expects GDP growth to continue at more than 6 percent in 2008.

    Mr. Badawi's government's record on the economy is based on maintaining stability, steady growth, controlling inflation and balancing the books. The government also has a strong record of lightening the burden of price increases through actions that have included:

@@start.t1@@        - Providing subsidies for petrol, diesel and gas, as well as providing
          assistance for tuition and tolls
        - Providing electricity tariff subsidies
        - Maintaining price controls on essential goods
        - Removing school and examination fees
        - Keeping government clinic fees low
        - Building more low-cost homes, holding rents down, and reducing the
          costs of home purchases by cutting the stamp duty
        - Reducing the road tax
        - Providing tax relief@@end@@

    Looking ahead, Mr. Badawi said the government will continue to deliver sustainable and broad-based growth. He pledged to cushion the effect of rising prices and ensure quality living standards for the people, generate at least 2 million quality job opportunities over the next five years, and reduce the budget deficit further without increasing taxes.

    By contrast, the opposition is promising unrealistic handouts to families that would cost 35 billion ringgits, debt forgiveness for all student loans that would cost 17 billion ringgits and petrol price reductions that would cost 5.4 billion ringgits.

    "These kind of handouts are not only unrealistic and irresponsible; they would balloon our budget deficit up to much more than ten percent and hurt our economy and our attractiveness to international investors," the prime minister said.

    The Government, by contrast, has won plaudits from international economists and the business community for reducing the budget deficit from 5 percent in 2004 to 3.2 percent in 2007.

    "In this election the real issue is the choice between proven leadership on the economy and unaffordable promises," Prime Minister Badawi said. "The opposition's policies aren't a program for an alternative government but a plan to turn Malaysia's economic stability into insecurity and turn our growth into recession. Theirs is a plan for higher spending, higher prices and higher taxes.

    "We have shown proven leadership on the economy and with a renewed mandate we can take Malaysia forward to even greater prosperity for all," Mr. Badawi said.

    "On Saturday the Malaysian people get to cast their vote on the future direction of this country. They have choice between moving forward together to greater prosperity for all or throwing away stability and prosperity in favor of higher costs that would hurt Malaysia," Mr. Badawi said.

    The prime minister on Wednesday was campaigning in the eastern region of Sabah, which itself is benefiting from a new economic development corridor that will kick-start value-added tourism and agriculture to create new jobs and attract foreign investment.

ots Originaltext: BN2008 News
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