NEW YORK — October 1, 2015: On the sidelines of the United Nations general debate, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had breakfast meeting yesterday with several American fund managers, urging them to ignore the noise in Malaysia on to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) but look instead at the real fundamentals of a resilient economy despite the current volatility.
He later sat through lunch with US business leaders, highlighting Malaysia’s positive competitive index as affirmed by leading ratings agencies
such as Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch as well as Bloomberg declaring the country as the world’s fifth most promising emerging market.
“The government is here to stay,” the prime minister said.
“I am not in a hurry to go back home for fear of losing my job or something like that,” he said, adding that the government would serve its five-year
mandate before the next election.
While here, Najib had attended meetings at the UN headquarters. From here he will depart for Milan for another working visit.
On 1MDB, Najib said the company was expected to announce in the coming days a further reduction of its total debt by about RM16 billion.
The prime minister told the businessmen he had given his undertaking that the government would need six months until the end of the year to reduce the debt and turn around the company.
“Bank Negara has come up to say there is no systemic risk related to 1MDB. We have more assets than liabilities,” he said.
On the proposed sale of Edra Global Enegry, Najib said there were already attractive offers for the power generation arm of 1MDB.
“So I am quite confident that by the end of the year, we will be able to show that 1MDB is basically a corporation that is able to go through the process of rationalisation with a massive reduction in debts.”
Najib explained that the business model of 1MDB is based on the concept of fast IPO and not using a lot of government funds.
He said that currently the indicators are good for the Malaysian economy but the noise level may not be all that positive about Malaysia.
He assured that the government would continue to make tough, even unpopular decisions, for the benefit of the people.
According to Najib, it was fortunate that the government had introduced the GST and the rationalisation of petrol subsidy as part of its fiscal consolidation measures to sustain growth.
“Nobody expected the price of petrol to take such a sharp drop, and that has affected our income from Petronas dividends and petroleum income tax.
“With the GST, the government is able to implement its development programmes and operating expenditure,” he said, adding the GST would enable the country to recoup some of the sharp reduction in revenue.
Najib will announce details relating to the revenue from the GST when he tables the national budget on October 23.
Najib also reassured investors that the government would not impose capital controls but would continue to make adjustments to the operating expenditure to make it more prudent and market-friendly.
There will also be no scaling down of major infrastructure projects particularly the mass rapid transport, Pan-Borneo Highway, Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development in Pengerang and the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed train. — Bernama