GEORGE TOWN: Penang’s economy slowed down in the first nine months of the year, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim.
“The poor GDP record has put Penang, which used to record one of the highest growth rates in the country, in seventh position behind places like Kuala Lumpur and and Johor,” he said.
Lim said Johor recorded a GDP growth of more than 6%, exceeding the national average of 5.3%, adding that 1.8% was below average and the Chief Minister (Lim Guan Eng) had to answer for this.
“By right, Penang should be doing very well as many people are flocking to the state which has a service-skilled workforce.
“I’m surprised that Penang has done so poorly,” he said at the Malaysian Economy and 2013 Budget Economic Forum at a hotel here Saturday .
Asked why the Penang economy recorded such a slow growth, Lim quipped, “Probably he (the Chief Minister) didn’t work hard enough!”
“Perhaps his methods and direction are wrong or that he didn’t do enough homework. Maybe he is too busy with other things.
“I’m not saying that he’s not doing his job, this is for the rakyat to decide,” he said.
Lim added the Ministry of Finance was forecasting the last quarter of the year to record a GDP of about 5.2%.
He assured Malaysians that the country’s economy was not headed towards bankruptcy as speculated by certain quarters.
“We have a RM456bil debt as of last year but our revenue is RM881bil, and we incur a deficit of about 58.2%.
“Our economy is doing much better compared to our Asean counterparts such as Singapore which has a deficit of 107%. Even countries like the United States and those in European Union are suffering from a higher debt.
“Malaysia practices an open economic policy and as of Oct 15, our foreign reserve has reached RM424bil, making us the 19th biggest foreign reserve country in the world,” he said.
The forum, organised by the MCA Bukit Gelugor division, was attended by some 300 people comprising Barisan Nasional division leaders, community leaders and businessmen.
Also present were Penang MCA deputy chairman Datuk Dr Loh Hock Hun, Bukit Gelugor MCA division chairman Datuk Koay Kar Huah and Komtar Barisan co-ordinator Loh Chye Teik. - The Star
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