KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — The government hopes the domestic private sector will emulate the confidence shown by foreign investors in Malaysia by helping to further strengthen the nation’s growth, says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
The first quarter (Q1) of the year saw a 94.8 per cent increase in realised foreign direct investment (FDI) to RM21.7 billion, the highest recorded in a single quarter in Malaysian history, compared with RM11.2 billion a year earlier.
“This indicates the strength of the economy and the rising confidence that foreign investors have in Malaysia and its government,” he said in his message in conjunction with Wesak Day.
The majority of the record FDI in the quarter was contributed by investments from Japan (RM8.4 billion), Austria (RM3.7 billion) and Hong Kong (RM2.8 billion).
Lim also said the economic growth of 4.5 per cent in Q1, which beat market consensus compiled by Bloomberg of only 4.3 per cent growth, gives Malaysia an encouraging start for the year.
He attributed the 4.5 per cent expansion to the country’s high economic resilience in the face of uncertain external challenges caused by the US-China trade war.
Meanwhile, the current account surplus in the quarter grew to RM16.4 billion, or 4.7 per cent of the gross national income compared with 3.0 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018.
“The surplus will remain in the foreseeable future,” he forecast.
Lim also highlighted that Malaysia attracted 6.696 million foreign tourists in Q1, the largest since the fourth quarter of 2016.
This represented a growth of 2.7 per cent compared with 6.52 million a year earlier, and a 3.9 per cent increase compared with the 2018 fourth quarter arrivals of 6.446 million tourists.
“As we celebrate this year’s Wesak Day in comfort, let us remember the teachings of Lord Buddha enjoining us to be good and compassionate, always helping each other and never leaving the unfortunate behind.
“In the same spirit, the Government will pursue inclusive growth in line with the principles of ‘Shared Prosperity’ to ensure prosperity for all, as elaborated by the Prime Minister during his speech commemorating the first anniversary of the Pakatan Harapan administration on May 9. With this, we aspire to build a more perfect Malaysian society that is just, united and prosperous,” he said. — Bernama