Malaysia has managed to attain gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4.7 percent in 2018 compared to 5.9 percent in 2017 despite the challenging external environment. This is largely supported by improved trend of private investments, underpinned by business-friendly policies and clear economic direction.
In 2018, total approved investments in the manufacturing, services and primary sectors recorded RM201.7 billion. Investments in the manufacturing sector recorded a significant higher rate mainly due to foreign investments which has more than doubled at RM58 billion against RM21.5 billion in 2017.
Total trade in 2018 continued to be resilient; expanding by 5.9 percent to RM1.88 trillion. Malaysia witnessed the greatest achievements in terms of trade surplus, registering the fastest growth rate in 10 years, as well as the largest trade surplus since 2012. Despite external challenges, exports rose by 6.8 percent to reach a value of RM998.28 billion, whereas imports increased by 4.9 percent to RM877.76 billion.
Malaysia aims to achieve steady economic growth of between 4.3 and 4.8 percent for 2019, supported by private sector activity, stable income and employment growth, coupled with sustained business capacity expansion.
In terms of investments, the first quarter of 2019 showed encouraging signs whereby investments approvals increased by 3.1 percent to RM53.9 billion, driven primarily by the robust performance of the manufacturing sector.
The approved investments is forecast to create a total of 41,200 job opportunities in manufacturing (22,970 jobs), services (18,000 jobs) and primary sectors (240 jobs).
Concurrently, realised investments for FDI in the first quarter of 2019 increased to RM21.7 billion as compared to RM12.9 billion in the last quarter of 2018. Trade rebounded in April 2019, whereby total trade expanded by 2.6 percent to RM159.55 billion.
After two months of negative year-on-year growth, exports for the month of April 2019 increased by 1.1 percent to RM85.2 billion.
MITI and Agencies remain committed to attract quality investments, increase trade, and create employment opportunities for the rakyat. In this regard, efforts will be doubled to promote more high-value, diverse and complex products driven by the catalytic sub-sectors namely chemicals, E&E and machinery & equipment and also industries with high potential growth such as aerospace and medical devices.
In addition, high-tech industries such as the automotive sector and high-value knowledge-intensive services will also be promoted.
MITI will intensify efforts to strengthen sectoral growth, facilitate structural reforms and provide quality infrastructure. Towards this, MITI launched the Industry4WRD National Policy to transform local companies in the manufacturing sector and manufacturing related services through systematically embracing Industry4.0.