Friday, February 22, 2008

Abdullah Gives Report Card On Progress Made From 2004 To 2007

Abdullah Gives Report Card On Progress Made From 2004 To 2007


PUTRAJAYA, Feb 22 (Bernama) -- With the elected representatives having given their report cards to the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Thursday that it was now his turn to give a report card to citizens on the progress made by the country from 2004 to 2007.

"Parliament members have to give me report cards on their performance. I as the Prime Minister of a government given the mandate by the people, am also responsible to give a report card on the progress achieved by the nation from 2004 to 2007," he said.

He said this at the Solidarity Assembly with members of the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (DPMM) held at the Putrajaya Convention Centre here.

Abdullah said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 18 per cent from RM427 billion in 2004 to RM504 billion last year.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) is going to the polls on March 8 to get a new mandate from the people after having been voted in by a landslide victory in the 2004 election.

Abdullah said the GPP increase involved all sectors, including modern agriculture, biotechnology and Islamic banking.

The nation recorded 21 million tourist arrivals last year in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year programme, he said.

International trade, he said, increased by 26 per cent from RM881 billion in 2004 to RM1.113 trillion last year.

Mean household income also increased from RM3,249 to RM3,617 during the period, he added.

The Prime Minister said the government also spent RM43.4 billion in subsidising essential goods so that their prices remained at an affordable range for the people.

He said the transformation programme undertaken for government-linked-companies (GLCs) had also succeeded in increasing their profitability with shareholders getting better returns on their investments in them.

Over 204,000 small-and-medium enterprises were also created since 2005 involving the giving out loans totalling RM107 billion, he said.

Bursa Malaysia's Composite Index, he said, reached an all time high after it increased by 161 per cent with market capitalisation rising from RM460 billion in 2003 to RM1.2 trillion last year.

Abdullah said the country's fiscal deficit was reduced from five per cent of the GDP in 2003 to 3.2 per cent of the GDP last year.

"Malaysia's foreign reserves also increased by 120 per cent from USD40 billion to USD101 billion," he said.

He said recognition of Malaysia in the global competitiveness index also improved from 25th position to 21st place.

Other examples, he said, would be spelt out one by one later so that the people were aware of the successes made by the government.

All these successes served to add value to those that had been achieved earlier, he said.

"Of the successes that we have inherited all this while, we add value to them. We add value to our services, products and to ourselves. This is everybody's role," he said.

In the government's effort to give rise to more bumiputera entrepreneurs and industrialists, Abdullah gave the commitment to implement programmes for the purpose more vigorously, not only to increase the numbers but also ensure quality.

He said that there had been a notable increase of their numbers now compared to before.

"During the time of Merdeka (Independence), in Kepala Batas there were only two Bumiputera businessmen. One opened a restaurant and the other a grocery store," he said.

Abdullah said it was not necessary to ask that Bumiputeras be helped in the direction (become entrepreneurs)as it was the government's responsibility to do so.

"No obstacle is insurmountable. Opportunities that come, we must grab them to get ahead," he added.

-- BERNAMA