Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In George Town, Penang On 11.8.2015.
The World Economic Forum Human Capital Report defined a high-income economy as one whose Gross Domestic Product or GDP per capita reaches USD$12,467 or RM 40,841 based on the exchange rate of RM3.27 for USD$1. Unfortunately the present precipitous drop in the ringgit today to RM3.95 to USD$1 means that our wealth has diminished by at least 20%.
Penang’s hopes of achieving high-income status of RM40,841 or USD$ 12,467 GDP Per Capita by 2015 crushed by the 20% drop in Ringgit to US Dollars from RM 3.27 to RM 3.95. Instead of RM40,841 as the benchmark to achieve high-income status, the 20% drop in the ringgit means that the benchmark has been increased to RM49,245.
Penang was expected to achieve a GDP per capita of RM42,251 based on a population of 1,681,922 people and a GDP of RM71,063 million by 2015. However the RM42,251 GDP per capita that would have made Penang a high-income economy because it exceeded the previous high-income benchmark on RM40,841, was based on the previous exchange rate of RM3.27 to USD$1.
Based on the current exchange rate of 3.95 or 20% drop in the value of the ringgit, Penang’s 2015 estimated GDP per capita of RM42,251 is still far off from the new revised high-income benchmark of RM49,245. This goes to show the cost to Penangites in terms of price inflation due to the drop in the ringgit, but also Penang missing out from being a high-income economy.
This 20% drop in value of the ringgit in less than a year shows the need for our national leaders to stop being in denial syndrome by ignoring the failure of the economic management, their failed economic policies and refusal to account or admit that the RM42 billion 1MDB financial scandal and the RM2.6 billion donation deposited into the Prime Minister’s personal account, has caused a complete and comprehensive loss of confidence amongst foreign investors and the local business community.
For Penang, instead of achieving high-income status, we may have to wait another 5 years to achieve high-income status and perhaps another 10 years to achieve the Vision 2020 target of USD$15,000 GDP per capita. All this because of 1MDB! If the Prime Minister still thinks that 1MDB is worth it and that it is not wrong for RM2.6 billion donation to his personal account to help BN win the 2013 general elections, then he should go back to the voters and let them decide in a fresh general elections.
LIM GUAN ENG
—– Mandarin Version —–