PUTRAJAYA– The government is confident that Malaysia’s economic growth will surpass five per cent this year, driven by external factors such as exports, private investments and private consumption, said Treasury Secretary General, Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

He said the government is also positive that the growth would be above what Bank Negara Malaysia had targeted with the private sector being the economic driver.

Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose 5.8 per cent in the second quarter this year, after climbing 5.6 per cent in the first.

Following the robust growth, the central bank raised its 2017 growth forecast to above 4.8 per cent. The last forecast in March predicted growth of 4.3 to 4.8 per cent.

“We are confident of touching above five per cent for this year . We hope the Sea Games, 1Malaysia People’s Aid among others, will act as an economic multiplier, he told reporters after launching the Volunteering For International Professionals (VIP) 2017 here today.

Asked about the ringgit’s fluctuation, Mohd Irwan Serigar said : ” The ringgit and interest rate have stabilised and this will help the economy to grow.”

On Bandar Malaysia, Irwan Serigar � he is Chairman of the project – said several companies had shown interest in being the master developer of the RM12.35 billion project.

Last July, Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani announced that eight companies had registered interest in the project.

Meanwhile, Mohd Irwan Siregar said the VIP programme which involved international professionals in volunteer activities would be extended to the three ASEAN countries, namely Indonesia, the Philippines and Cambodia this year.

He said the programme, implemented since 2015 under the National Blue Ocean Strategy, had a positive impact on the less fortunate in the rural and slum areas through the volunteerism activities.

“Thirty foreign professionals will join hands with 20 local counterparts for four months to implement 10 projects under nine identified fields.

“They will contribute their expertise for the social and economic development of Malaysia through voluntary activities under the programme,” he added.

The nine fields are youths at risk, the homeless, the unemployed, environment and wildlife, educational opportunities, rural transformation, empowerment of women, social equality, and health.