'Ditch the Santa Claus mentality, push for sustainable growth' - Rafizi

22 Dec 2023 07:38pm
Rafizi Ramli. - Photo by Bernama
Rafizi Ramli. - Photo by Bernama

SHAH ALAM - The role of the Economy Minister is not to play the role of 'Santa Claus,' distributing free gifts to the people but rather to guide the Malaysian economy towards sustainable growth.

Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli said that the common expectation of announcing projects or handouts as evidence of government economic planning needs to evolve.

"A few weeks ago, there was an uproar over the Cabinet reshuffle.

"I understand that Opposition supporters hope for a different Economy Minister to exploit perceived failures in the country's economic reforms.

"This issue has been ongoing for the past year, claiming that the economy has collapsed.

"Initially, they propagated the 'nothing' narrative to make the minister and government believe 'there is nothing,'" he shared in a post on the X social media site earlier today.

The Pandan MP said that he had been entrusted with correcting the country's economic structure, which deviated due to practices carried out by the previous government administration.

Rafizi also alleged that the previous government failed to address five key issues, including bulk subsidies, national indebtedness, reliance on foreign workers, economic entrapment in low-value sectors, and the disparity between workers' wages and the rising cost of goods.

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He pointed out that the practice of providing bulk subsidies, irrespective of whether the recipients are rich or poor, tourists, or foreign workers, has incurred an annual cost of around RM80 billion.

"Additionally, the habit of accumulating debt and utilising any available fund, akin to playing the role of 'Santa Claus' with the government's resources.

"The consistently high deficit, the substantial annual withdrawal of dividends from Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), and spending the people's trust fund without clear plans to reduce the national debt have contributed to this," he explained.

As a result, Rafizi argued that the focus should now shift towards medium and long-term economic reforms.

"Ministers will come and go, and we serve based on the opportunities given by the people and determined by ALLAH SWT.

"My mandate as a minister is to help Malaysia break free from the economic pitfalls that were allowed to fester previously.

"The goal is to prevent those who come after me from grappling with similar challenges," he added.

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