Fantasy or fallacy: ETP 6pc annual growth rate calculations

By Nurul Izzah Anwar, The Malaysian Insider

SEPT 24 — As a follow up to my article, “15 Questions on ETP” published on September 22, 2010, I have discovered that the manner in which the GNI annual growth rate presented was misleading.

It was publicly announced that the Economic Transformation Plan (ETP) will only provide 74 per cent or RM 1.258 trillion of the estimated RM 1.7 trillion GNI in 2020 against our RM660 billion GNI for 2010 which required the quoted six per cent annual growth rate.

However, in reality Malaysia as a whole, when ETP plus non-ETP contributions are calculated for the 10 years needed, it would indicate that it should have been disclosed that we need a nine per cent per annum growth rate to achieve  the RM 1.7 trillion GNI in 2020.

Furthermore, at the 21st Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Malaysia Implementation Council meeting held on November 9, 2009, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that Malaysia was aiming for a nine per cent annual GDP growth until 2020.

In his opening speech Prime Minister Najib said:

“We aim to be a developed nation by the year 2020 and we are looking to more than double our per capita gross national income from US$7,000 (RM24,500) to at least US$17,000 by then in order to qualify as a high-income nation according to World Bank classifications.

“This would also mean that Malaysia has to grow its GDP by over nine 9 per cent annually until the year 2020.” (The Malaysian Insider, November 9, 2010)

However, in what has become the prime minister’s flip-flop approach to national matters, he had hours later in a press conference denied having said 9 per cent.  He said: “I did not say nine per cent, I said around six per cent as nine is not realistic.”

So why hide the whole real number and mislead an entire nation?

What about other official statistics — CPI, NKRAs, PLI — are they reliable?

The rakyat and foreign investors must have confidence in our official data.

Wouldn’t any manipulation be seen as fraudulent, misleading and unacceptable?

I call upon the government to set the matter straight and immediately announce if Malaysia actually needs a nine per cent annual growth rate to achieve the RM 1.7 trillion GNI target in 2020?

How can this be achieved when the world economy and our competitiveness are equally in decline?

How does this indicate on the viability of the ETP just recently announced?

The people deserve to know especially with the upcoming budget announcement to be made in Parliament in October, so as to not to be seen as misleading that will have a profound negative impact on not only public confidence but also on international confidence on our data integrity in light of our more than 80 per cent decline in FDI.