MITI sees manufacturing, services sectors growing at slower pace in 2019

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 25): The manufacturing and services sectors are projected to grow at a slower pace of 4.8% and 5.7% respectively this year, compared with 5% and 6.8% registered in 2018, according to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

Its minister Datuk Darell Leiking said while Malaysia is feeling the heat as the US-China trade tensions escalate, exports and orders have proven to remain consistent.

"We are not the only one feeling the heat, of course, a lot of nations are. Malaysia is also a manufacturing nation, so obviously the exports have some issues.

"But at the same time, we have managed to overcome a lot of the challenges, and while the [growth] figures may not be as high as last year, the consistency of exports and orders are still there," he said, adding that the growth in the manufacturing sector will be underpinned by the shift towards high value-added, diverse and complex products.

On foreign direct investment (FDI), Leiking said his ministry remains positive after reporting an encouraging first quarter, but cautioned that there could be new challenges faced amidst geopolitical tensions.

"While Malaysia is very optimistic of the incoming figures, we take note that there will be challenges. Nevertheless, we will work hard to strive to avoid the conflicts that are already there as well as challenges looming ahead of us," he added.

Leiking was speaking at a press conference held in conjunction with the launch of Miti Report 2018 and Productivity Report 2018/2019 here today. Also present was Malaysia Productivity Corp (MPC) chairman Chua Tian Chang, who is more commonly known as Tian Chua.

On the investment front, Malaysia's private investments in the manufacturing, services and primary sectors recorded RM201.7 billion in 2018, a 0.55% increase against RM200.6 billion in 2017.

Total foreign investments more than doubled to RM58 billion last year, from RM21.5 billion in 2017, accounting for 66.4% of approved investments.

According to the MPC report, the services sector recorded the highest performance with growth in labour productivity at 3.5% that is equivalent to RM86,921, followed by construction at 3.4% (RM43,882), manufacturing at 2.4% (RM121,841), and mining and quarrying at 2.1% (RM1.49 million), while the agriculture sector registered a contraction of 0.2% at RM53,943.