KUALA LUMPUR: Although the slump in global oil prices has inevitably hurt the market’s perception of the economy, economists are still relatively upbeat on Malaysia.
World Bank Senior Country Economist for Malaysia Dr. Frederico Gil Sander said the current economic situation is indeed challenging but not extremely serious.
“The lower revision of the gross domestic product (GDP) of between 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent is still very respectable considering the global average of three percent,” he told Bernama.
For 2015, the World Bank expects Malaysia to register 4.7 percent GDP growth and remain on that growth path for the next two years at 5.1 percent and 5.2 percent for 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Gil Sander said going forward, continuing on the path of fiscal consolidation would still be the right policy to enable the country to rebuild its fiscal buffers.
According to the Global Economic Prospects report by the World Bank, Malaysia is one of the few countries able to capitalize on firming global demand for the region’s exports.
It said this could be done through a diversified manufacturing base, integration into regional supply chains, competitive unit labor costs and relative political stability.
Meanwhile, IQI Holdings Sdn Bhd Chief Economist Shan Saeed said the government had done a good job in managing the economy with its effective policies and ability to weather external challenges.
Despite hurdles especially during the fourth quarter of 2014, Malaysia managed to record a commendable GDP growth of 5.8 percent for the quarter, driven by private sector spending.
“What I like about Malaysia is that there has always been an economic consistency and the government shows that it is very much in control of the situation.
“I believe the strong GDP trend will continue in 2015 and expect Malaysia to register economic growth of between 5.0 percent and 5.5 percent this year,” he added.