Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, DAP Election Strategist, on Thursday, 21st of March, 2013 in Kuala Lumpur
After ‘boasting’, not once, but twice, on national television that Malaysia’s GNI per capita has grown by 49% from US$6700 in 2009 to US$9970 in 2012, the CEO of PEMANDU and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Idris Jala has revised this growth figure down to 41%. This was after DAP parliamentary leader, Lim Kit Siang, as well as Executive Director of Research for Social Advancement (REFSA), Teh Chi Chang, and myself criticize the Prime Minister and PEMANDU for misleading the public for using wrong numbers to calculate the growth in our country’s GNI per capita.
It was reported in Kinibiz that “Pemandu said the change in figures was due to the adoption of the latest version of the United Nations Systems of National Accounting (SNA 2008) in 2012 which had pushed the GNI per capita up for 2009 from US$6700 to US$7059.”
One wonders why, with all the resources which PEMANDU has, that it did not correct this figure earlier especially when the aforementioned United Nations figure was available in December 2012! Was PEMANDU merely incompetent in providing wrong figures to the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Najib Tun Razak, or was he hoping that the Malaysian public would not notice this intentional manipulation of figures in order to inflate the results of the Economic Transformation Program (ETP)?
The fact is that using GNI per capita figures in US$ clearly exaggerates the growth in our economy in a way that masks the actual failure of the ETP to deliver on its targets. If the Prime Minister had used GNI per capita in RM instead, which is the figure published by most, if not all, of the relevant departments and agencies – the Department of Statistics, the Ministry of Finance, Bank Negara Malaysia – our GNI per capita growth rate would have come in at a much more pedestrian 24%, from RM24,879 in 2009 to RM30,809 in 2012. In fact, this growth rate works out to an annual rate of 7.4% (compounded) from 2009 to
2012, which is lower than the 8.2% GNI per cap growth rate from 2001 to 2010, when there was no Economic Transformation Program (ETP) or PEMANDU.
The exaggeration of the GNI per capita figure also hides the reality that the ETP failed to deliver on its promise of a 6% annual real growth rate since real GNI grew only by 4.3% in 2012 and by 4.9% in 2011.
Given this new revelation made by Minister Idris Jala, Prime Minister Najib should immediately make a correction to his announcement that Malaysia’s GNI per cap has increased by 49% from 2009 to 2012. He should also clarify that Malaysia’s GNI per cap in RM has only increased by 24% from 2009 and 2012 and explain to the Malaysian public why the ETP failed to deliver on its 6% growth target for 2011 and 2012.
Dr. Ong Kian Ming, DAP Election Strategist