Malaysia provides a conducive environment for foreign and local investors looking to invest over longer term. This is reflected by the level of foreign direct investments (FDI) in Malaysia. These same socio-economic policies have also made Malaysia among the top trading nations in the world. Currently, the government’s policies are focused on achieving vision 2020 that is transitioning the country to become a developed nation by 2020. Malaysia will continue to push hard to achieve comprehensive national development, including in enhancing our economic fundamentals. In this respect, Malaysia’s progress has been very encouraging. Growth continues to be strong and broad based. Malaysia are at full employment level. Inflation, although rising because of the reduction in fuel subsidies, is being managed effectively. Trade continues to grow, which has resulted in a healthy current account surplus.
Beyond fiscal discipline, Malaysia are also targeting increases in productivity and efficiency of government budgetary spending; such that government spending will have a greater impact on national economic growth as well as on incomes. This will not only deliver benefits from the consolidation of the government’s finances, but also promote the well-being of all Malaysians in areas such as education, housing, transportation, agriculture and rural development. Going forward, Malaysia are also positioning the economy to tap into the manifold opportunities created by growing inter-regional trade and by the strengthening of economic ties in the Asian region. Growth in Asia is broad-based; ranging from the emergence of the giant economies of China and India, the technological strengths of north Asia, the diverse strengths of the ASEAN region, and the oil revenues of west Asia.
Asian economies have much to offer each other. In this respect, the effects of rising Asian prosperity can already be seen in strong export revenues, growth of the services sector and higher job creation in Malaysia. Malaysia intends to further capitalise on these exciting regional developments by diversifying and broadening its economy through the development of new sources of growth, which will complement its traditional strengths in areas such as manufacturing and commodities exports. In moving towards developed nation status, it is encouraging to note that the Malaysian capital market is already a significant component of the larger financial system with an asset size totaling 1.1 trillion ringgit in 2005.
The broadening of Malaysia’s capital market increases the diversity of financing sources, which in turn ensures that there is readily available funding capacity for large long-term projects and corporate transactions. This suggests that there is sufficient critical mass to further accelerate the growth of our capital market. Going forward, the capital market to play an increasingly important role in capitalising on domestic and international growth opportunities during the ninth Malaysia plan. In this regard, there is a need to further expand the role of the capital market to support Malaysia’s transition to developed nation status. For example, a developed economy requires an advanced intermediation platform that can provide seed funding to start-ups representing potential new sources of growth as well as provide bridge financing for large cross-border transactions and infrastructure projects.