Malaysia’s economy scales new heights in 2018


THE Malaysian economy reached a new height of RM1.45 trillion last year at current prices, after a rebasing exercise on GDP from base year 2010 to 2015, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM).

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin (picture) said the country’s economy for 2018 also saw a better performance with a GDP growth of 4.7% at 2015 constant prices with a value of RM1.36 trillion.

“Consequently, gross national income (GNI) per capita registered RM43,086 in 2018, approximately US$10,043. Under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP), GNI per capita is expected to reach RM47,720 by 2020.

“Malaysia’s economy recorded an annual average growth of 5% during the period of 2015 to 2018,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Mohd Uzir said the rebasing of GDP is a normal statistical procedure performed by National Statistical Offices worldwide to ensure the statistics reflect the current economic structure.

“The GDP constant prices are now expressed in 2015 prices. This rebasing exercise is the seventh carried out by DoSM.

“The rebase of GDP provides DoSM an opportunity for refining the methodology and incorporating the most recent data. By using data from the Economic Census 2016 and the Supply and Use Tables 2015, the GDP base year 2015 has enabled policymakers and analysts to obtain a more recent and accurate set of current economic condition,” he said.

Mohd Uzir added that estimates of GDP at constant prices are fundamentally measured changes in volume in terms of economic activity, while keeping relative prices constant.

“The base year’s relative price weights become less accurate through the years as prices of goods and services changed from time to time. Therefore, to update the base year price weights to a more recent reference year, it is essential to periodically rebase GDP,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mohd Uzir said the services and manufacturing sectors served as a major contributor to the economy with a combined share of 79.1% in the new base year.

“The share of the services sector reached 56.7% in 2018, which surpassed the 11MP target of 56.5% by 2020,” he said.

Mohd Uzir also said that the services sector strengthened to 6.8% supported by wholesale and retail trade as well as information and communication in 2018.

“Wholesale and retail trade augmented to 8.1% backed by the retail segment which elevated to 10.1%. Information and communication posted a growth of 8.3%, contributed by communication and computer services activities,” he said.

On the expenditure side, Mohd Uzir said the domestic demand constituted 93% of GDP and prominently led by private final consumption expenditure (PFCE).

“PFCE expanded to 8%, induced by food and non-alcoholic beverages (22%), restaurants and hotels (10.7%), and communication (8.5%).

“The consumer expenditure on services contributed 51.7%, while spending on goods accounted for 48.3%,” he said.

Following the rebasing of GDP, Mohd Uzir said other national accounts statistics will be realigned with the new estimates.

The first quarter of 2019 economic performance is expected to be published on May 16, he added.