Johari: Positive outlook seen for 2018

 |Jan 4, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The overall outlook for Malaysia in 2018 seems positive with its gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to moderate at five-5.5 per cent following a stellar economic recovery last year, said Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.

He said Malaysia’s eonomic conditions should remain conducive to support a more robust macroeconomic performance despite fiscal deficit which was set to be reduced to 2.8 per cent in 2018 from three in 2017.

“The GDP growth in 2018 shall continue to be driven by private consumption and investment, growth in exports and higher government spending in infrastructure projects—the East Coast Rail Link, High-Speed Rail, Mass Rapid Transit line two (MRT2) and Light Rail Transit line three (LRT3),” he said in his keynote address at CIMB Group Holdings Bhd’s 10th Annual Malaysia Corporate Day here today.

Johari said while the overall outlook seemed positive, the Government was mindful of external challenges globally.

He said the anticipated slowdown in China’s economic growth and rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, North Asia, as well as the current US foreign policies were likely to present a risk to the global economy as a whole, which would directly have a bearing on Malaysia as an open economy.

Moving forward, to ensure that Malaysia’s economy is more resilient against emerging mega-trends, the minister said the country needs to seriously embrace digital economy as one of the new core pillars to support the existing economic pillars that it had successfully built over the years.

“It is an open secret now that Malaysia seeks to become a prominent player in this new economy. We are taking this stance not because all other nations are shifting their focus to new technology and the 4th industrial revolution, instead because we can see the merits in embracing the digital economy to further unleash our potential growth.

“For example, in recent times, our digital economy has grown many folds and its contribution to our GDP is approaching the 20 per cent target for 2020,” he said.

On digital currency, Johari applauded Bank Negara Malaysia’s move to include Digital Currency Exchanges within the ambit of Anti-Money Laundering as a mean to manage the risk of digital currencies, as opposed to imposing a blanket ban on digital currencies trading.

“I find this move rather refreshing. It demonstrates our ability to strike the right balance in our regulations, between promoting innovation and managing the associated risk to our financial system,” he said.

Meanwhile, during a conversation session with CIMB Group Chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, the minister said the Government would continue its pro-business policy, complete the public infrastructure projects, promote the National Transformation 2050 aspiration, as a moderate government, in a continuous mandate after the upcoming 14th General Election. — Bernama