ASSURANCE: People must be convinced first that the plant will be safe, says PM PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak assured the people that the government will not make a final decision on the Lynas plant until it was convinced that "nothing untoward would happen in the long term".
"We have to first go through the process of convincing the people that the plant will be safe," he said in response to a question via NSTLive online chat at Balai Berita here yesterday.
During the hour-long session, Najib answered questions from the public on the government's existing and upcoming policies.
Asked what he thought of the country's economic outlook over the next year, Najib said he was cautiously optimistic.
"The Malaysian economy has shown resilience, especially since we have implemented the reforms through our GTP (Government Transformation Programme) and ETP (Economic Transformation Programme).
"However, there are downside risks to the global economy that we must be aware of," he said.
To a question on whether Malaysians were able to be economically sustainable, or had they become too dependent on government subsidies, he responded: "No, on the contrary, we are the people's government. Therefore, we care for the needs of the rakyat while maintaining fiscal responsibility."
Najib said he would look at the government's cashflow soon to decide whether it could afford to hand out another round of IMalaysia People's Aid (BRIM) while ensuring fiscal discipline.
He assured the people that there would be goddies for everyone when the 2013 Budget was tabled.
He also promised to look at setting up more IMalaysia People's Store (KR1M) in the country, in response to a question.
"I agree, on the condition that we can find suitable premises." He also said the government would give more attention to incentives for the middle class.
"In the medium term, we should look at the tax structure and incentives for the middle class.
"If we can increase our sources of revenue, then we can consider a mediumterm reduction in personal income tax and provide more incentives," Najib said in response to another question.
One comment asked the prime minister to address the recent spate of crimes against women. Najib said he was concerned about all kinds of violence, including those against women.
"The general crime rate has fallen but more has to be done to ensure that the rakyat feels more secure."
On a lighter note, there was a question asking the prime minister to rate the chances of national badminton player Datuk Lee Chong Wei in the Olympics.
Najib replied that Lee possessed a "good chance of winning".
"I think he has to strengthen his personal resolve as he will be up against his nemesis, Lin Dan," he said, before asking all Malaysians to give their moral support to Lee during the tournament.
Before leaving, Najib thanked all those who posed questions and said it was a refreshing engagement.
"It makes me want to do even more for the rakyat and for Malaysia," he added, clearly satisfied with the brief but productive session.
Present were Media Prima chairman Datuk Johan Jaaffar, New Straits Times Press chairman Tan Sri Mohamed Jawhar Hassan, Media Prima group managing director Datuk Amrin Awaluddin, Media Prima executive director (news and editorial operations) Datuk Ahmad A. Talib, NSTP chief executive officer Mohammad Azlan Abdullah, NSTP group managing editor Abdul Jalil Hamid and NST managing editor Datuk Nuraina Samad.
No, on the contrary we are the people's government. Therefore, we care for the needs of the rakyat while maintaining fiscal responsibility." Datuk Seri Najib Razak