'We have acted as a responsible govt ... striving to protect the rakyat' : Najib

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak claimed that while the decisions made by the government under his reign were not always popular among the rakyat, they were necessary to protect the country.

Najib said that since taking the helm of the country's administration in 2009, the Barisan Nasional-led government has made a slew of changes for the betterment of the nation.

He noted how several international institutions like Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank have given Malaysia's economic management positive reviews.

"All of these (approvals) are the result of economic planning implemented by the government after I took over in 2009.

"The difficult decisions that we made may not always be popular, but (are) much needed, and these decisions have protected Malaysia from the impact of the global economic recession and turbulence.

"We have acted as a responsible government, always striving to protect the rakyat, and taking care of their welfare and security," he said today.

He made these statements in a lengthy blog post titled "My economic vision for Malaysia", two days before he tables the 2018 Budget in Parliament this Friday.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, refuted claims that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was only introduced to cover for the losses made by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), calling them absolute lies.

He said the state investment arm had in fact played a vital role in solving the lop-sided power agreements signed by a former leader (most likely referring to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad).

"When 1MDB entered the industry, it was the lowest bidder in all its agreements, subsequently saving Malaysia RM200 billion over the next 20 years. In fact, a research firm report on the revised power agreement was simply entitled 'No more favouritism agreements'," he said.

He also noted that 1MDB had funded the construction and upgrade of eight military bases, as well as thousands of scholarships and Hajj trips.

Najib also explained that he refused to accept the former leader's way of administrating because he was confident Malaysia needed a new vision separate from the older one that has brought "serious legacy problem" and impacted negatively on the rakyat's welfare.

"You will not hear of all of these (achievements) from the opposition or a former leader who's obsessed with power, and wants to continue ruling despite (being) in his retirement, and blamed me for his son's defeat in the race to be Umno's vice-president in 2013.

"As a country, we need to move on to the next phase to become a high-income, developed nation, where the standard of living and the quality of life of Malaysians are given priority.

"This is my vision for Malaysia – a struggle bigger than myself," the Prime Minister said.