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KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s strong fundamentals and investors’ confidence in the economy, buoyed by sound policies, have given credibility to the government’s anticipation of accelerating economic transformation momentum in 2024, said Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan.

He said the national economy experienced a promising 4.2% growth in the first quarter of 2024, indicating the effectiveness of government policies and economic management.

“With the Q1 2024 growth exceeding the Bloomberg consensus forecast of 3.9%, the government is optimistic that Malaysia’s gross domestic product is well placed to expand within the official forecast range of 4 to 5% for 2024,” said Amir Hamzah when speaking at the launch of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) International Accountants Conference 2024 today.

He mentioned that international investors are once again showing interest in the reform narrative as evident in the positive outlook of the local capital markets and demonstrated by the FBM KLCI reaching new highs, as well as the foreign direct investments made by global companies.

Amir Hamzah stated that the new strategies developed under the Madani economic framework for Malaysia’s economic growth have begun yielding positive results as the economy continues to expand.

“This is catalysed by economic measures outlined in Belanjawan 2024 and the government’s commitment to introduce responsible fiscal management while ensuring the welfare of vulnerable communities is protected,” he said.

He also stated that the implementation of strategies and measures under the National Energy Transition Roadmap, New Industrial Master Plan 2030 and the ongoing 12th Malaysia Plan initiatives will continue to attract quality investments in high-value-added industries that in turn will create high-income jobs.

Amir Hamzah said the focused diesel subsidy is one of the policy reforms. The subsidy had increased tenfold from RM1.4 billion in 2019 to over RM14.3 billion in 2023, with the amount of subsidised diesel rising sharply from 6.1 billion litres in 2019 to 10.8 billion litres in 2023.

“As the number of registered diesel vehicles increases at 3% which is not in tandem with usage, Malaysia cannot afford to lose billions of ringgit, year after year, to smuggling and misappropriation of diesel,” he added.

Amir Hamzah said the launch of the MIA Sustainability Blueprint is a commitment to sustainable practices and provides guidelines to support accountants in embedding sustainability and the blueprint serves as a useful guide to accountancy professionals as sustainability gains momentum and their roles expand.

“The conference is relevant in preparing accountancy and finance professionals to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well as the climate goals reaffirmed by Malaysia at the annual COP (United Nations Climate Change Conference) events,” he said.

He mentioned that accountancy professionals are urgently needed to lead sustainability adoption and business practices by being competent in capturing, measuring, reporting and assuring environmental, social and governance data.

“Assurance services in the sustainability space are also increasingly critical to curb the rising occurrence of greenwashing and protect investor confidence,” Amir Hamzah said.