The government is very optimistic that Malaysia will continue to record a positive growth this year due to the country’s diversified economy, based on recent positive data from reputable international agencies, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said.
“We look at the United States and global economy, (they) are under pressure and based on analyst estimates, we have looked at second quarter (which) is quite bad.
“For Malaysia, we have seen a strong second quarter growth and for third quarter, we feel that the momentum will be on growth for the country but we have to remember the base effect on last year’s third quarter,” he told reporters after the launch of the i-Lindung Insurance and Takaful Facility here today.
Tengku Zafrul said the data show that Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast of between 5.3 per cent and 6.3 per cent in 2022 is still on track.
“This is again not just from me, the Ministry of Finance or Bank Negara Malayisia, but also S&P Global Ratings, which has upgraded the outlook for Malaysia, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank which validated the growth figures.
“We are affected by the slowdown in the US economy. Things are very fluid, so, as a trading nation, open and small economy as well, we need to also monitor the growth globally,” he said.
The minister said although the growth figures by sectors were seen to be uneven, certain sectors such as palm oil, oil and gas, and manufacturing were doing well so far.
Tengku Zafrul said however, Malaysia, together with other countries, will have to be prepared for any eventualities, including a global recession.
On the fiscal space, he said Malaysia is still in a better position compared to last year’s, given the growth in economy and improvement in commodity prices. “The governmewnt is aware of the concerns and (has) also seen the impact of what is happening globally to Malaysia,” he said, adding that the government has recently increased the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia, the largest direct cash assistance, to the tune of RM8 billion so far.
As such, he reiterated that the fiscal space needs to be continued, while the government is looking into ways to save money to ensure that funds could be channelled to those in need of the government’s support.
“For now, the fiscal deficit will continue to be in (the) 6.0 per cent range as targetted and we will continue to monitor this,” he said, adding that Malaysia’s statutory debt is still below the approved limit in line with the deficit target. —The Star