YB Darell Leiking, the Minister of International Trade and Industry, launched the MITI Report 2018 at MITI Tower, on 25th of June 2019, together with the Productivity Report 2018/2019.
Malaysia leveraged on the improved trend of private investments, underpinned by business-friendly policies and clear economic direction. Despite the challenging external environment, Malaysia managed to attain gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4.7% in 2018, compared to 5.9% in 2017, which was largely supported by strong domestic demand and well-diversified economy.
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 recorded in 2017. Total foreign investments more than doubled at RM58 billion last year, against RM21.5 billion in 2017; accounting for 66.4% of approved investments.
In 2018, total trade continued to be resilient; expanding by 5.9% to RM1.88 trillion compared with RM1.771 trillion in 2017. Malaysia witnessed the greatest achievements in terms of trade surplus in 2018, which widened by 22.3% to RM120.52 billion, registering the fastest growth rate in 10 years, as well as the largest trade surplus since 2012. This was the 21st consecutive year of trade surplus since 1998, driven by total exports almost reaching the RM1 trillion mark. Despite uncertainties in the global environment, exports rose by 6.8% to reach a value of RM998.28 billion whereas imports increased by 4.9% to RM877.76 billion.
In 2019, 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 approvals increased by 3.1 percent to RM53.9 billion, driven primarily by the robust performance of the manufacturing sector.
The approved investment is forecasted 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% to RM85.2 billion.
“Despite the challenging external environment ahead and some cautious forecasts, MITI and Agencies remain committed to our mandate to attract quality investments, increase trade, and create employment opportunities for the rakyat”, said Datuk Darell during his speech.
“We will accelerate our efforts to create a conducive environment for Malaysia’s industry and trade agenda. In this regard, we will double our efforts 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 particularly aerospace and medical devices. In addition, high-tech industries such as the automotive sector and high-value knowledge-intensive services will also be promoted”, he added.
The event also saw the launching of the Productivity Report 2018/2019. Malaysia registered a labour productivity growth of 2.2% at RM91,971 in 2018 as compared to RM89,925 in 2017. The growth in productivity contributed to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 4.7%, while employment grew at 2.4%.