Malaysia from a middle-income country, transformed itself from 1971 through the late 1990s from a producer of raw materials into an emerging multi-sector economy. Growth was almost exclusively driven by exports of electronics. As a result, Malaysia was hard hit by the global economic depression and the slump in the information technology (IT) sector in 2001 and 2002. The economy grew 4.9% in 2003 , in spite of a difficult first half, when external pressures from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Iraq War led to caution in the business community.
Still agriculture remains the basis of livelihood for about 20% of Malaysians and it provides about 15% of GDP . Rice is the staple food, while fish supply most of the protein. Industry is largely concentrated in West Malaysia.
The economy of Malaysia still remains dependent on constant growth in the US, China, and Japan, the top export destinations and key sources of foreign investment. The government presented its five-year national development plan in April 2006 through the Ninth Malaysia Plan , a widespread blueprint for the allocation of the national budget from 2006-10. The plan targets the expansion of higher value-added manufacturing and an expansion of the services sector industry.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $308.8 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $131.8 billion (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 5.5% (2006 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $12,700 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture : 8.3%
industry : 48.1%
services : 43.6% (2006 est.)
Labor force: 10.73 million (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 19.9% of GDP (2006 est.)
Public debt: 46.7% of GDP (2006 est.)
Industrial production growth rate: 5.8% (2006 est.)
Exports: $158.7 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports: $127.3 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $82.3 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external: $57.77 billion (30 June 2006 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
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