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PM: 6% growth rate vital to achieve developed nation target [18-02-2011]  
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The country is on track to achieve its developed nation target after gross domestic product (GDP) growth exceeded 6% last year, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The figure is crucial as the country needed to maintain a minimum growth rate of 6% for the next 10 years to achieve Vision 2020.

The official GDP figures would be announced today, but Najib said: “As a preview, I can tell you that the figure has exceeded 6%.”

Speaking at the launch of a programme on strengthening the Dewan Negara at Parliament House yesterday, Najib said Malaysia could achieve developed nation status if it had an annual average growth of 6% over 10 years.

At a press conference later, he said the growth rate was achievable unless affected by a global crisis.

“We are a major trading nation. If there is no external demand, it will affect us.

“If external factors are positive, we can attain moderate positive growth,” he said.

Asked if Malaysia was capable of recording a double-digit growth in future, Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said: “No, we cannot. Because you must remember that the Malaysian economy is much bigger than it was 20 years ago.

“As we approach to become a matured economy, we cannot get double-digit (growth). I think 6% is relatively high.

“We have to be realistic. No developed nation can achieve double-digit.”

Najib said he faced new challenges as prime minister due to the changing political environment. The challenges include climate change, globalisation and the social media.

He said climate change had caused natural disasters such as the recent floods in Segamat, while the effects of globalisation meant that the national economy was affected by the global economic crisis.

“The economic crisis in 2009 was not our fault. It is the United States’ fault. But we were affected. Luckily, we have recovered,” he said.

On the rising price of commodities, Najib said the World Bank had reported it as a global phenomenon.

“So if anyone wants to accuse BN (Barisan Nasional) as Barang Naik, that is not right. It is a global phenomenon.

“In Iran, the price of fuel went up by 200%. Here, if we increase it by a little, it becomes an issue,” he said.

As for social media, Najib called it a double-edged sword as it allowed for easy access to information.

“The Government has no monopoly over information and its dissemination. With social networking, it is easy to spread poison pen letters,” he said.

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