KOTA BHARU, May 8 — The country’s economic recovery is on the right track as measures taken by the government are beginning to show positive results, including the strengthening foreign revenue and demand, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
He said the economic stimulus packages like PRIHATIN; PRIHATIN Package for Small and Medium Enterprises (Additional Measures); National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA); the Malaysian Economic and Rakyat’s Protection Scheme (PERMAI); the Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy (PEMERKASA) and the 2021 Budget have had a positive impact on the country’s economic growth.
“Several key economic indicators recorded stronger performance, including the country’s Industrial Production Index which jumped 9.3 per cent in March 2021 — the highest growth since July 2013, driven by the Manufacturing and Electricity Index which increased by 12.7 per cent and 10.3 per cent, respectively.
“Additionally, the sales value of the manufacturing sector increased by 15.3 per cent in March 2021 — a 44-month high, supported by sales of transport equipment and other manufacturing products, electrical and electronics products, as well as food, beverage and tobacco products,” he said in a statement today.
Meanwhile, after recording a contraction for five consecutive months since October 2020, the sales value of wholesale and retail trade recorded a growth of 9.3 per cent in March 2021.
“The sales value of motor vehicles also jumped 40.7 per cent and retail trade increased by 10.5 per cent, supported by the i-Sinar and i-Lestari withdrawal facilities, as well as the rise in commodity prices which helped to boost the people’s disposable income,” he said.
The minister also noted that exports grew by 31.0 per cent to RM104.9 billion in March 2021 — a 44-month high, while imports increased 19.2 per cent to RM80.8 billion.
“Trade surplus rose by 96.1 per cent year-on-year to RM24.2 billion during the month — making it the 11th consecutive month that a trade surplus was recorded since May 2020,” he said.
Mustapa said the country’s Purchasing Manager Index, which indicates the prevailing direction of economic trends in the manufacturing and service sectors, rose to 53.9 in April 2021 — the highest recorded since July 2012, reflecting the strong achievements in the manufacturing sector.
“However, the services index, which tracks the overall performance of the services sector, contracted by 3.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2021.
“Nonetheless, this achievement is an improvement compared to the 7.1 per cent contraction recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020,” he said.
Mustapa said the latest economic achievements were encouraging and proved that the efforts taken by the government to revive the economy were beginning to bear fruit.
“The government is confident that the economic growth target of between six per cent and 7.5 per cent this year will be achieved despite having to implement the Movement Control Order in several districts recently to break the chain of COVID-19 infection,” he added.