Bernama.com, October 04, 2004
From Salmy Hashim
WASHINGTON -- The Emerging Markets magazine voted Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and Finance Minister II, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the "Best Finance Ministers in Asia" for 2004.
The international financial magazine, very visible here during the annual World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings from Oct-1-3, gave the award to them for turning around Malaysia's economy into one of Asia's star performers.
The magazine gave the "Best Central Governor in Asia" award to India's Y.V. Reddy.
It said the two awards were based on nominations from investment banks and analysts.
Issues include strong track record, the ability to turn around poor situations and the ability to leave a mark on their country.
The magazine said: "The country, once criticised for its controversial stance towards foreign investment, is now one of Asia's star performers."
In the second quarter, Malaysia's economy grew by 8 percent, its fastest since 2000, it added.
"Much of this is down to the leadership of Prime Minister and Finance Minister Abdullah Badawi and Finance Minister II Nor Mohamed Yakcop," the magazine says.
Nor Mohamed told Bernama here that the magazine gave the award because Malaysia has a very prudent economic policy and management.
He said: "They're quite impressed that we reduced our fiscal deficit to 5.6 percent in 2002 to 5.3 percent in 2003, this year to 4.5 percent and next year our target is 3.8 percent.
"We want to bring our deficit to zero but we do not want to contract the economy. We want growth and discipline. We are committed to a gradual reduction of fiscal deficit."
When Abdullah took over as Prime Minister, he did not make a "U-Turn," instead, he continued Vision 2020, the government is still pro-business, pro-trade and liberalisation is still on-going, he added.
"Businesses like continuity," he said.
Other measures included reducing the cost of doing business, reducing the time to do business and getting approvals, he said.
"Foreign investors also like the stability in our political and economic environment, our rule of law, good infrastructure, a young educated population, which make it conducive for businesses," he added.