Malaysia’s economy expands 8.9%

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s improved economic growth of 8.9% in the second quarter of 2022 is in part due to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s clear stance on opening up the economy and reducing the unemployment rate.

The Prime Minister’s Office economic director Shahril Hamdan, who said this, added that the expansion of the country’s gross domestic product announced by Bank Negara yesterday was made possible also due to Ismail Sabri’s assurance on having no more lockdowns.

“The Prime Minister deserves some credit for this 8.9% economic growth registered. His clarity on having no more lockdowns and opening up the economy, as well as focusing on reducing unemployment, has borne fruit,” Shahril said.

He cited figures by the Statistics Department, which showed on Wednesday that unemployment now was almost at pre-pandemic levels.

Shahril said since Ismail Sabri took office in August last year, employment figures had gone up by more than 400,000, leading to increased wholesale and retail spending.

“Manufacturing output has also jumped significantly, not to mention high approved investments over the last few quarters. These are all official, registered figures,” he said.

However, Shahril said there would be challenges such as managing surging inflation and combating high under-employment.

“The foreign worker shortage is also a major pain we have to solve somehow. We also have to depend less on consumer spending for our gross domestic product (GDP).

“But at least we’ve ticked some really important boxes on the recovery path from the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.

He said global headwinds were still strong with the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, with global supply chain disruptions and aggressive monetary policy tightening measures across the globe.

“But our recent macro numbers like the GDP figure announced show that Malaysia possesses fundamental resilience to face these problems well,” he added.

Bank Negara announced yesterday that Malaysia’s economy expanded 8.9% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2022, which was significantly higher than the median expectation of 6.7% growth by a Reuters poll of economists.

The improved performance, compared to growth of 5% in the first quarter of the year, brought the first half of this year’s GDP growth to 6.9%.

Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said the national economy was projected to expand further for the remainder of the year.

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