Private sector may fuel economic growth next year, says Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: The private sector may contribute the additional percentage to the country’s expected economic growth next year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak last night.He said while next year’s economic growth was particularly ambitious in the light of the 2010 Budget deficit, he believed the extra one or two per cent could well come from the private sector.

Leveraging on this prediction would be the unveiling of the country’s new economic model in coming weeks that would help reshape Malaysia’s economic planning and activities, he said.

Since the Asian economic crisis, reduced private sector participation in investing in growth sectors had warranted the government to bear an unprecedented burden in stimulating the economy, he said.

“The private sector will be the backbone of the economy moving forward. We need increased private sector investments which are now well below levels before 1997-98,” said Najib, who is also Finance Minister, when speaking at the Federation of Malaysia Manufacturers 41st annual dinner.

More specifically, the prime minister asked the manufacturing sector to improve innovation and actively explore opportunities to develop new product and service areas.

“The manufacturing sector must alter its game plan in order to stay competitive, both regionally and globally. It will remain vital to Malaysia’s economy and holds the key for our nation’s march to ever higher levels of prosperity,” he said.

In the manufacturing industries, Najib said continued investments in innovation, productivity and information technology would help the country break free from its traditional low-wage business models.

As manufacturing would continue to be the foundation to Malaysia’s economy, the sector must be aligned with the evolving business environment, he said.

In addition to investments in higher technology and value-added products, the prime minister said a highly-skilled workforce proficient in new technologies must also be developed.

For this, he asked the private sector to ensure the workforce received continued on-the-job training to help them evolve with increasing demands in the global workplace.

“The growth and development of the manufacturing sector are critical to Malaysia’s future success and prosperity, and we want the sector to be able to thrive in the global marketplace,” he said.

The public sector would play its role in supporting the private sector by focusing on regulatory reforms to eliminate gaps and overlaps, more transparency and improved coordination among relevant government agencies. — Bernama

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