PM: Priority to improve people’s lives

Posted by R Rahman

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi speaking in Parliament this morning. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today tabled in the Dewan Rakyat the Mid-Term Review of the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010), emphasising that the review was of utmost importance in ensuring continuity of the agenda of national development especially in the light of the current challenging economic situation.

“In the absence of effective measures, the sharp rise in oil and commodity prices as well as the continued turbulence in global financial markets could potentially derail our efforts to maintain economic stability and achieve robust growth,” he said in his speech when tabling the review.

Abdullah said the review was aimed at implementing strategies and programmes as well as making provisions to mould Malaysia into a strong and united nation.

As such, he said, one of the main objectives of the second phase of implementation of the 9MP was to ensure that the quality of life of Malaysians was protected.

He also said that programmes to increase earnings propensity as well as to provide social safety nets would continue to be implemented and enhanced.

At the same time, the Mid-Term Review did not ignore the nation’s need to enhance capacity and competitiveness.

“Infrastructure development, human resource improvements and expansion of sectors contributing towards new sources of growth will continue to be pursued, taking into account the long-term developmental needs of the nation,” he said.

Abdullah said that to ensure that Malaysia was able to sustain a positive growth momentum, the national development agenda would continue to be based on the 5 main thrusts of the National Mission, which are:

• to move the economy up the value chain;

• to raise the capacity for knowledge and innovation and nurture “first-class mentality”;

• to address persistent socio-economic inequalities constructively and productively;

• to improve the standard and sustainability of quality of life, and

• to strengthen the institutional and implementation capacity.

Abdullah also outlined several accomplishments during the first two years of the implementation of the ninth plan, including sustaining economic growth at an encouraging rate of 6.1 per cent per annum and enhancing the quality of life of Malaysians by increasing per capita income from RM18,840 in 2005 to RM23,066 in 2007.

Also, during the period, the government reduced the fiscal deficit from 3.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2005 to 3.2 per cent in 2007 through prudent management of the budget, he said, adding that the government cultivated new sources of economic growth and enhanced worker productivity levels.

Abdullah also said that the government enhanced the quality and access to the national education system through the implementation of the Education Development Master Plan and the National Higher Education Strategic Plan.

He said it also lowered the overall poverty rate from 5.7 per cent in 2004 to 3.6 per cent in 2007, whereby incidences of absolute poverty were reduced from 1.2 per cent to 0.7 per cent in 2007.

The government also reduced inter-ethnic, regional and urban-rural economic divides, he added.

During the two-year period, the government developed almost 68,000 new entrepreneurs as well as trained more than 120,000 existing entrepreneurs through various entrepreneurial development programmes, he said.

Abdullah said the government also ensured better health care services, housing amenities, rural road networks, public transportation and road safety.

Besides, he added, it improved the effectiveness of the public service delivery system, which included replacing the Certificate of Fitness for Occupation (CFO) issued by local governments with the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC), as well as reduced the cost of doing business through the Special Taskforce to Facilitate Business (Pemudah).

Abdullah said it was evident that the implementation of the Ninth Malaysia Plan was not confined to planning or limited to mere rhetoric and that it had resulted in tangible accomplishments. — Bernama


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