PUTRAJAYA – Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Irwan Serigar Abdullah assured Malaysians today that the country’s economy is doing well and remains on track for growth between 4.5 and 5 per cent.

Rubbishing rumours that the country is headed for an economic meltdown, he added that it was the negative perceptions that had caused the decline in the Malaysian currency.

“We are targeting deficit at 3.1 per cent… We are on track to achieving. This year we are targeting 4.5 per cent to 5. We have all the programmes in place to achieve this, so we are on track,” he told a news conference at the Finance Ministry office here.

He also pointed out that both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are “happy” with Malaysia’s economic performance to date and had noted it was among the few economies showing resilience in the face of the ongoing global economic slowdown.

“So I say the perception must be corrected, and today’s briefing, if you publish this, the ringgit will strengthen you know.  So you need to give positive statements again and again,” he added.

Irwan insisted that all is well with the country’s economy, and that claims that it is not is mere perception.

“The perception, the perception! Now you go and see the restaurants. I go to restaurants, I go to supermarkets. Who are there? People are buying everywhere. People are travelling. It’s all you know, the alternative media, some groups of people making noise as though the whole country is in trouble. It’s a small group, you know, writing this thing and you are reading too much on alternative media. You newspaper people also,” Irwan responded.

He added that Malaysia’s inflation rate is also one of the lowest in the region with the people being able to purchase relatively cheap fuel as compared to other countries.

“When I was in UK, the pump price of petrol is more than £1 (RM5.52). £1, you multiply by five, is more than RM5 ringgit per litre. In Malaysia, what is the price of petrol? So if you compare, we are one of the lowest in terms of petrol,” he added.

– Malay Mail