Malaysia's markets have taken a beating from commodity price drops and a political scandal, and one opposition politician believes the country could now face a financial crisis.
Wong Chen, a member of Malaysia's parliament and a noted critic of the ruling Umno (United Malays National Organization) party headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak, told CNBC on Friday that the country's economic and political health were closely linked.
"The biggest worrying factor is the domestic confidence level has plummeted due to [the] goods and services tax (GST) and also due to the fact that politically it's not very stable," Wong said, on the sidelines of the U.S.-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Business Council conference in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia's GST of 6 percent, introduced in April to shore up government revenue, has proved unpopular and slowed consumer spending. At the same time, Malaysians are struggling with a high level of personal debt which, if defaults rise as Wong fears, could set off an economic blowup along the lines of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, which was caused by a surfeit of dollar-denominated debt.