Pemandu: Malaysia's economic strength will buffer it against external shocks

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KUALA LUMPUR, (Feb 26): Strengthening fundamentals over the last five years has placed Malaysia on a firm footing to achieve continued growth in 2015, despite unstable external economic conditions, said the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) today.
This is on the back of private investments that grew at 11% for 2014, reduced dependence on oil revenue to 29.7% and exports up by 6.4% during the period, said Pemandu in a statement on 2014's economic wrap-up.

Economic growth in 2014 was led by private sector activities across all major industries, like services, manufacturing, construction and mining, it added.

"As evidenced, we're seeing a significant shift from dependence on oil revenue with the reduction from 35.4% of total government revenue in 2010 to 29.7%, as estimated by the EPU (Economic Planning Unit), in 2014," said Pemandu's chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala.

The approach of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) in driving the top 12 economic sectors and institutionalising various policy reforms to create a competitive and level playing field has led to a more robust and diversified economy, he noted.

This also mitigated the risk of being overly dependent on oil and gas revenue, said Idris, who is , who is also a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

Earlier this year, Pemandu said concerns were raised whether the Malaysian economy would face a crisis following the sudden free-fall of global crude oil prices at the tail-end of 2014, potentially reducing the nation's income and affecting sections of the economy.

In this regard, it said the continued surplus in the current account, together with Malaysia's strong and well-capitalised banking system and developed financial markets which have provided additional support to strengthening the country's economic condition, has provided for economic strength that helps buffer Malaysia against external shocks.

In 2014, Malaysia's current account registered a higher balance of RM49.5 billion or 4.8 % of Gross National Income (GNI) compared to 2013's RM39.9 billion or 4.2 % of GNI, it noted.

With solid fundamentals and pragmatic policies, Idris said Pemandu is confident that the country is on track to becoming a high-income nation by 2020.

"We must judiciously stay focused on growing the key economic sectors and improving our business environment.

"We must not lose heart with challenges, [but] instead, resolve to stick to the plan we have and the minutiae and rigour of implementation," Idris said.

Idris, who had previously turned around Shell MDS Malaysia and then Malaysian Airline System Bhd, was handpicked by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to run the ETP and Government Transformation Programme (GTP) in 2010.