Mahathir shakes up Malaysia taxes
KUALA LUMPUR Malaysias annual economic growth slowed to 5.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, leaving the countrys new government with the task of turning around an economy that has decelerated for two consecutive quarters.
Releasing the latest gross domestic product data yesterday, the central bank said domestic demand would help growth stay favourable, though the January-March performance was below a median forecast of 5.5 per cent given by a Reuters survey of economists.
The slowdown comes amid uncertainty over economic policies of the new administration of 92year-old Mahathir Mohamad, who led an opposition alliance to a surprise win over his scandal-tainted former protege Najib Razak and a Barisan Nasional coalition that had led the country for six decades.
Regarded as the architect of modern Malaysia, Mahathir retired in 2003 after leading the country for 22 years, but he returned to upset the countrys traditional political order by allying with old foe, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, having become angered by Najibs alleged corruption.
For all the scandals, Najib oversaw an economy that put in its best performance in three years in 2017, but growth has decelerated from 5.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 and from 6.2 per cent in the third quarter, when it made its strongest showing in three years.
During his first week back in office, Mahathir has announced moves to effectively scrap a goods and services tax (GST) - a significant source of government revenue, reintroduce a sales tax, and review various projects signed off by the previous government. REUTERS