• The external macro environment, in particular the crude oil price, the timing on the start of the rise in US interest rates and its ensuing impact on financial capital flows, will introduce higher volatility to Malaysia’s economy, including the risk of twin deficits. Nevertheless, Penang is expected to continue to contribute trade surpluses in 2015 due to the weakening of the Ringgit, and the state budget is expected to remain in surplus.
• At the same time, Malaysia’s domestic environment will become more challenging given the introduction of the GST from April 1, 2015 and the sensitivity of Malaysian households to any interest rate hike due to their high debt levels.
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