Lim: 2020 a better year for Malaysian economy

Govt expects nation’s GDP to grow robustly at 4.7% in 2019 and accelerate to 4.8% this year, says finance minister


MALAYSIA’S economy is expected to fare better this year following the rise of the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) to a 15-month high in December 2019.

The manufacturing PMI for the country rose 0.5 to 50 points last month after the November 2019 index improved by 0.2 to 49.5 points from 49.3 points the month before.

“The PMI manufacturing improvement suggests the domestic economy would grow faster in the coming months,” Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in a statement on Saturday.

Lim reiterated that the PMI is not the only indicator pointing towards a more sustained expansion.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) stated that the latest leading economic indicators expanded 1.4% to 120.3 points in October 2019 versus 118.6 points in the previous month, a significant improvement from -0.4% and 0.3% change in August and September respectively.

“These findings are in line with the government’s optimistic view regarding 2020 growth prospects.

“The government expects the Malaysian GDP to grow robustly at 4.7% in 2019 and accelerate to 4.8% this year,” Lim said.

For the first three quarters of 2019, the country’s GDP expanded by 4.6% year-on-year.

Additionally, trends exhibited by the RAM Business Confidence Index published last week concur with the outlook implied by the PMI and DoSM data.

Lim said a local rating agency’s survey findings suggest sentiment among Malaysian businesses is improving with confidence among the corporate, rising 3.2 points to 56.4 in the first quarter of 2020 (1Q20) to 2Q20 period.

At the same time, confidence among small and medium enterprises rose one point to 54.2, which is the highest level since the index began in 2017.

“The government is boosting employment opportunities and income of youth, fresh graduates and women through the RM6.5 billion [email protected] programme, while implementing major infrastructure projects valued at RM120 billion,” he added.

The five-year RM6.5 billion [email protected] job programme aims to provide 350,000 job opportunities for the unemployed by giving monthly wage incentive of RM500 to workers and RM300 monthly to employers for taking in local workers.

Lim stated that Malaysia’s economy this year is expected to be supported by major infrastructure works like the Pan-Borneo Highway (PBH), Light Rail Transit Line 3 (LRT3), Mass Rapid Transit Line 2 (MRT2) and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) projects.

The economy would also be supported by the building of Bandar Malaysia with a gross development value (GDV) of RM140 billion and the RM450 million digital stimulus of e-wallets providing RM30 free shopping money.