PUTRAJAYA: The Government is sticking to its original growth forecast for this year, despite surging exports in recent months that have prompted economists to up their projections.
“The global economy is dynamic and it’s not easy to simply revise your forecast.
“I don’t think we will be making any changes to it, as we will also have to look at the figures for the second, third and fourth quarters,” said Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani after chairing a Budget 2018 focus group meeting.
The Government early this year had projected gross domestic product (GDP) to grow between 4% and 5% this year.
The Malaysian economy expanded 5.6% in the first quarter.
The second-quarter GDP performance is expected to be released next month.
The International Monetary Fund has raised Malaysia’s GDP growth projection for this year to 4.8% from 4.5%, on the back of savvy economic management and commendable monetary policies.
Last month, the World Bank released its bi-annual Global Economic Prospects, in which Malaysia’s GDP forecasts for 2017, 2018 and 2019 have been revised upward by 0.6%, 0.4% and 0.5%, respectively.
It forecast that Malaysia’s economy will grow by 4.9% compared with the earlier prediction of 4.3% in its January 2017 report.
Johari said the upward trend revision by the two international bodies was an acknowledgement that the country has strong fundamentals despite “political noises”.
“We do take note of criticism, but we cannot allow politics to be in the way of economic growth. “Politics must not impede the economy because everyone will stand to lose if there is no growth,” he pointed out.
On another matter, the minister said the fact that Fortune 500 companies are eyeing to be Bandar Malaysia’s master developer proves the potential and value of the development.
“Bandar Malaysia is the game changer of what Kuala Lumpur is going to be like in the next century. These companies are confident about the future of this development, particularly so with the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail terminal to be built there,” he added.
According to a news report, the Government has received nine pitches - two from Japanese firms and seven from China’s state-owned entities - as these companies bid for the master developer title of the development.