Courage to implement structural reform helped country remain on right track (Updated)

PUTRAJAYA: Had the government not made structural reforms in managing the country's economy, it would not have been as strong and stable as it is today, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

He said the country's success in overcoming a rather turbulent global economy had not come easy, and that it took courage for the government to implement several changes.

Najib said the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in April 2015 and the rationalisation of subsidies were among several measures that helped maintain economic growth.

"Success did not come easy as we were forced to make several difficult, but necessary, decisions and changes.

"If we did not have the political courage and political will to make these structural reforms to correct our weaknesses, it would have been impossible for us to put our economy back on a stable track," he said.

Najib said this during his speech at the 2015 and 2016 Treasury Commemoration for Retiree ceremony, here, today.

Najib noted how the country managed to collect RM41 billion in GST revenue last year, and that two other countries, India and Saudi Arabia, would follow Malaysia's move of introducing the tax system due to its success.

"It was not an easy move to introduce GST. Many had said we will lose the General Election if we introduced it.

"Alhamdulillah, we won the recent Sarawak election, even when the opposition had played the GST card," he said.

Najib said the government's shift to a targeted subsidy policy, in the form of the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M), had also shown very positive results.

"If anyone ever criticises BR1M, I want to say that, I have observed and tested, and I dare say that the rakyat do like BR1M," he said.

Fifty two former finance ministry officers and staff were given recognition today following their retirement from service.

Also present at the ceremony were Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani and deputy finance minister Datuk Wira Othman Aziz.