SINGAPORE, — Malaysia’s 2018 growth prospects look promising, while its stability indicators look sound, says Founding Chief Executive Officer of Centennial Asia Advisors, Singapore, Manu Bhaskaran.

“Malaysia is one of the most open economies in the world and with a competitive currency and good gearing to the electronics cycle, it will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the revival in global demand.

“Manufactured exports will do well and commodity prices should hold up as well,” he said at the ISEAS- Yusof Ishak Institute’s Regional Outlook Forum 2018 here today.

Baskaran, a strategic advisory analyst, was one of the speakers discussing a topic titled “Economic Trends and Their Impact on the Region”.

He said domestic demand would be supported.

“Major infrastructure projects are being implemented and this is crowding in private investment as well,” he said.

On the ringgit, Baskaran said it has been strengthening as trade is revived as Bank Negara Malaysia’s policies in getting exporters to convert their proceeds to ringgit took hold.

“The external accounts are likely to remain in surplus, providing more support to the ringgit which is, anyway, being helped by rising oil prices,” he said.

On long-term prospects, Baskaran noted that they were helped by the government’s economic transformation programme, but much would depend on political risks as the general elections loomed.

“Structurally, the government has to consider long-overdue reforms in addressing issues weighing on the economy’s competitiveness.

“The efficiency of Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) needs to be improved, while there is also a need to address human capital development to provide a fillip to productivity growth, particularly as Malaysia advances toward a high-income economy,” he said.