Malaysia's economic outlook is expected to deteriorate significantly in 2015 following three years of robust growth, and experts say it's not just due to crashing oil prices.
Sharp currency depreciation and the introduction of a goods & services tax (GST) are widely expected to drag 2015 gross domestic product (GDP) growth below 5 percent from an estimated 5.8 percent in 2014.
The dramatic decline in crude is also playing a role for emerging Asia's only major energy exporting economy. Brent's 54 percent plunge over the past six months has noticeably hurt Malaysia, where petroleum products and liquefied natural gas account for 14 percent of exports.
Barclays recently reduced its 2015 GDP forecast to 4.5 percent from 5.5 percent following a similar downgrade by the World Bank to 4.7 percent, both well below the government's 5-6 percent growth forecast.
Upbeat November trade data on Wednesday showed Malaysia's trade surplus at a three-year high but failed to improve the country's outlook. According to ANZ, the trade balance could potentially be an "Achilles' heel" in 2015 due to pressure from lower oil prices.