KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Bernama) -- Malaysia expects to record a slightly higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth this year from 4.2 per cent achieved last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.
"We expect a slightly higher figure this year, and for it (growth) to rise in 2018," he said.
The government had forecast that the economy would grow between four and five per cent in 2017.
These figures showed that the Malaysian economy was growing more than double the rates the International Monetary Fund had predicted for advanced economies over the same time period, he said in a keynote address at the Global Transformation Forum here today.
Najib reiterated that Malaysia was firmly on the path to become a high-income nation.
"This is why all the major rating agencies such as Fitch, Standard & Poor's and Moody's have reaffirmed Malaysia as being in the 'A' category.
"Let's turn to the International Monetary Fund, one of the most respected institutions in the world. Its latest assessment of Malaysia said that the country's economy continues to perform well, despite significant headwinds, and has made significant progress towards achieving high-income status," he said.
Another example quoted by the Prime Minister was PriceWaterhouseCoopers which, in its recent report, predicted that Malaysia would have the 25th highest GDP in the world, measured by purchasing power parity, by 2030 - and the 24th by 2050.
"So top 20 is within our grasp," said Najib.
Meanwhile, this year's Global Transformation Forum would feature, among others, the world fastest man Usain Bolt, Sir Richard Branson, the Founder of Virgin Group and also Jack Ma, the Founder of Alibaba Group.
As announced last November, Ma was appointed Malaysia's digital economic adviser.
Najib said Ma would share his ideas and experience to spearhead Malaysia's economy through the development of the Digital Free Trade Zone - which would be the world's first.
"We will be launching the Digital Free Trade Zone later today. I'm excited," he added.
The Zone will benefit entrepreneurs by offering a conducive environment for digital companies to carry out business - invigorating Internet-based innovation and thus catalysing the Malaysian economy.
The initiative is part of the recently launched National E-commerce Strategic Roadmap which aimed to double the country's e-commerce growth from 10.8 per cent to 20.8 per cent by 2020.