More reliable and open data access can boost growth, expected at 4.9 percent for 2017 KUALA LUMPUR, June 13, 2017 –The latest Malaysia Economic Monitor, launched today by the World Bank, reports that Malaysia charted its highest quarterly growth rate in two years within the first three months of 2017, at 5.6 percent year-on-year. Growth for the year 2017 has been predicted to rise to 4.9 percent. The positive growth outlook was driven largely by strong private consumption, supported by improving labor market conditions; while increasing private investments and major government-led infrastructure projects also contributed to it, the Monitor reports. An upturn in the United States was reflected in the rising external demand, and stabilizing commodity prices as well as a recovery in global trade further helped to boost growth. The report includes a special focus on the importance of good data and effective data management, and how this can inform policy-making and improve service delivery. Good data can boost productivity in the private sector as data is used for product development, market analysis and evidence-based decision-making. In the public sector, a more integrated Open Data ecosystem can enable institutions, including government data management agencies, to pool information that can bring about services which are better customized, faster, cheaper, and of higher quality for the people of Malaysia. “The Malaysian government has started working on several initiatives to produce the data and statistics to meet the policy needs in the Eleventh Malaysia Plan,” says Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Economic Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. “Together with the World Bank Group Global Knowledge and Research Hub in Malaysia, we are reviewing the country’s statistical system to bring forth the full potential of data in meeting its policy needs. This would serve to translate data into effective public service delivery." “Good and reliable data is crucial for economic development," says Ulrich Zachau, World Bank Country Director for Southeast Asia. “As the demand for data is increasing in quantity and sophistication, Malaysia has the opportunity to build on its existing statistics infrastructure to broaden and deepen access to open data, and develop systems for data management that are fit to join the ranks of high-income economies. This will work to the benefit of families and firms across Malaysia." The report identifies the fragmentation of data and institutional responsibilities for data as a key challenge. International experience points to the importance of establishing a coordinating mechanism to facilitate more open data-sharing and data collaboration, while also strengthening interactions between data users and data producers. The Malaysia Economic Monitor series provides an analytical perspective on the policy challenges facing Malaysia as it grows into a high-income economy. The series also represents an effort to reach out to a broad audience, including policymakers, private sector leaders, civil society and academia.