Malaysia’s economic outlook very encouraging, claims finance minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s economic indicators are very encouraging despite the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration being a new government, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Among others, he pointed out that Malaysia’s foreign direct investment increased by 250 per cent to RM49 billion (US$11.8 billion) in the first nine months of 2018. Exports also rose to a record RM96.4 billion, he said.

Inflation, meanwhile, was at a low of 1.2 per cent in the first nine months of 2018, Lim said.

“We must bear in mind that the global economic situation is facing more severe challenges compared with those faced by us in Malaysia,” he said in a new year’s message posted on his Facebook page on Monday (Dec 31).

“Therefore, we are convinced that if the rakyat (people) are united, regardless of race, religion or background, we will be strong and stable as a nation in overcoming all future economic challenges.”

He added that the government aims to fulfill the people’s aspirations to the best of its ability.

Lim said that government aimed to improve welfare schemes such as the Health Protection Fund, which gives income replacement payments to those of lower income who are admitted to hospital.

“The economic well-being of the rakyat will continue to be emphasised by the government, as the government will continue to provide aid to the Felda settlers, the rubber tappers, and those who are working in small towns and cities.

“We are the government for all Malaysian citizens. A new year calls for a new aspirations for all, and let us together make 2019 not just a year for Malaysia to recover but one that provides a beacon of hope for our children. Happy new year 2019,” he added.

PUTRAJAYA TO PRIORITISE ECONOMIC GROWTH NEXT YEAR

Earlier in the day, Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali said in his new year’s message that the government will prioritise economic growth in 2019.

He noted there will be challenges that demand hard work, commitment and sacrifices.

“(This is) to make Malaysia once again the Asian Tiger, a regional economic miracle, that holds fast to the principles of democracy, justice, unity and trust which would be legacy of the future generations,” said Azmin.

OFFICIAL RESERVE ASSETS MORE THAN US$100 BILLION

Meanwhile, the country’s official reserve assets amounted to US$102.03 billion as at end November 2018, while other foreign currency assets stood at US$51.6 million, said the central bank.

At the end of December 2017, official reserve assets reportedly stood at US$102.44 billion, while other foreign currency assets amounted to US$1.79 billion.

In a statement on Monday, the central bank said overall, the detailed breakdown of international reserves under the International Monetary Fund Special Data Dissemination Standard format indicates that Malaysia’s reserves remain usable as at end November 2018.

The central bank said for the next 12 months, the pre-determined short-term outflows of foreign currency loans, securities and deposits, which include among others, scheduled repayment of external borrowings by the government and repayment of maturity proceeds from the foreign currency Bank Negara Interbank Bills amount to US$2.97 billion.

“The short forward positions amounted to US$21.71 billion, reflecting the management of ringgit liquidity in the money market.

“In line with the practice adopted since April 2006, the data excludes projected foreign currency inflows arising from interest income and the drawdown of project loans amounting to US$2.57 billion in the next 12 months,” it added. – Bernama/aw(hm)

Source: ChannelNewsAsia