Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak assured that despite the current economic outlook, Malaysia’s economy is not to be classified as in a crisis or recession mode.
The Budget 2015 was revised last Tuesday in order to boost Malaysia’s economy against the falling global crude oil prices and depreciating Ringgit value against the US dollar.
Despite speculations by experts, Datuk Seri Najib did not announce a cut in development expenditure. Instead, RM5.5 billion was cut from the operating expenditure from the previous budget.
Economic Growth Forecast: From 4.5% to 5.5%
Malaysia’s new economic growth forecast for 2015 is now between 4.5% and 5.5% while the fiscal deficit is expected to be 3.2%. Also, the Dated Brent crude oil is now priced at US$55 per barrel.
The Government believes that the exchange rate will adjust over time to reflect Malaysia’s economic fundamentals. Currently the Ringgit closes at RM3.60 per US dollar, compared to RM3.20 per dollar when the initial Budget 2015 was tabulated in October last year. He also added that the current account must remain in surplus and that the efforts to reform fiscal policies must continue.
“The ringgit is not the only currency to have weakened against the US dollar. In fact, almost all major currencies in the region have softened against the US dollar since September 2014,” he told The Star.
The budget revision signals that the Government’s strategy is to keep the domestic economy growing amidst a possible global slowdown.
In a separate event, Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Zeti Aziz told to an audience of private economists and representatives from the media that the ringgit had appreciated and depreciated by about 12% and that the underlying fundamentals of the economy would prevail in determining the ringgit’s strength.
Malaysia reserves remain optimal despite an outflow of funds of US$19 billion in 2014, as the international reserves were at US$116 billion in December – enough to finance 8.4 months of retained imports.