MALAYSIA’S prospects for 2019 look grim amid Pakatan Harapan’s failure to deliver on its reform pledges and shrinking tax revenues, reports The Straits Times.
Uncertainty over the leadership transition from Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Anwar Ibrahim, racial tension, high level of public debt and a steep decline in tax receipts are adding to its woes, the Singapore newspaper said.
The World Bank last month revised downwards Malaysia’s GDP forecast by 0.2 percentage points to 4.7% for 2018 and the economy is expected to grow 4% this year.
Analysts have warned of a downgrade of Malaysia’s sovereign ratings, said ST, but international rating agencies have so far been restrained because of PH’s pledges to curb corruption and excesses.
However, such promises have yet to materialise as the “hastily cobbled together” PH coalition now deal with political realities, among them, an internal feud between Anwar and his deputy, Azmin Ali and sabotage from senior civil servants, who are still loyal to the previous Barisan Nasional regime, it said.
The protest against the ratification of the United Nations’ International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), led by Umno, PAS and other Malay rights groups also point to Malay anger at Dr Mahathir’s second administration.
A cabinet reshuffle is imminent, the paper said, as the prime minister moves to shore up support for PH in what would “test the already delicate power-sharing formula” in PH, adding to Malaysia’s political grief.