On a hockey tour in Malaysia and its has been interesting to observe the pace of development here in Kuala Lumpur. Everywhere you look there is a high rise block being built with work continuing well into the night – there is definitely a buzz about the place. However, as yet we haven’t ventured into the more rural parts of the country to experience first hand the local communities and their economies. Here is some information on the main characteristics of the economy:
* Malaysia is well-endowed with natural resources in areas such as agriculture, forestry and minerals.
* It is an exporter of natural and agricultural resources, the most valuable exported resource being petroleum.
* At one time, it was the largest producer of tin, rubber and palm oil in the world.
* In terms of agriculture, Malaysia is one of the top exporters of natural rubber and palm oil, which together with sawn logs and sawn timber, cocoa, pepper, pineapple and tobacco dominate the growth of the sector.
* Palm oil is also a major generator of foreign exchange.
Outlook for Malaysia from The World Bank
* Malaysia’s economy expanded to 5.1 percent in 2011.
* GDP growth exceeded earlier estimates because the Government stepped up public consumption spending towards the end of the year and also because of higher investments by public and private companies.
* GDP is expected to continue to expand healthily in 2012 by 4.6 percent in 2012 and, assuming the global economic recovery picks up, 5.1 percent in 2013.
* Inflation has started to decline, with stabilizing food prices and falling transport costs.
* Unemployment held steady at low levels. Job creation was healthy, accommodating new workers and a higher participation rate.
* Jobs lie at the core of a strategy to achieve Malaysia‘s objective of becoming a high-income economy that benefits all Malaysians. In this regard, Malaysia needs to create more “modern jobs” and modernize its labor markets. ‘Modern jobs’ involve a higher and more diverse set of skills such as communication, problem-solving, and proficiency in modern information technology. Modern firms in a high-income economy derive their competitiveness from the productivity and talent of their workers, not low wages.