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#Economic Report:* More liberalisation, market driven polices to boost competitiveness, says PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The government remains committed to enhance the country's competitiveness by further liberalisation and market driven policies, says Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

In his preface to the Economic Report released on Friday, Oct 23, the Prime Minister said the government remained committed to greater accountability and transparency.

"To effect these changes, we have to do things differently now," he said, throwing the challenge to the country and the people that "there has to be a paradigm shift and change in mindset".

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the success in charting economic growth and overcoming the previous crises would not be possible without the rakyat's support.

"Recognising this, 1Malaysia: People First, Performance Now, is the bedrock of the government which places utmost priority in serving the rakyat," he added.

He emphasised the government is determined to make the national key results areas (NKRAs) a reality.

Of most concern to the people are crime prevention, combating corruption, widening access to quality and affordable education, raising the living standard of the low-income group, upgrading rural infrastructure and improving public transport, he said.
 
Najib said the setting up of a performance management and delivery unit would spearhead all activities for the successful implementation of the NKRAS.

"We must stay united, committed and brave to meet any challenges to enable us to become a high income and development nation," he said, expressing confidence that 1Malaysia would galvanise the rakyat to work together as a team to achieve this goal.

On the economic fundamentals, he said they remained resilient despite the more challenging environment in 2009.

Plus factors for the country were its high savings, healthy trade surplus, strong foreign reserves and low unemployment.

"Major indicators suggest the economy is on track to recovery and expected to register a smaller decline of 3% for 2009," he said.

"Importantly, the economic downturn has provided an opportunity to reassess our growth model."

Malaysia, he said, while it has enjoyed a successful middle-income economy, cannot content to remain so.

"We need to address the nation's long-term competitiveness and transform into a high-income economy with focus on creativity, innovation and high-value added activities," he said.

Measures must be taken to enhance the country's capabilities in research and development and also commercialisation, which are crucial to become an innovation-driven economy.

"We also need to strengthen domestic demand, particularly private investment and diversify our export markets. We must shift from reliance on low skilled foreign labour to high skilled and talented human capital," he said.
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