KUALA LUMPUR, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia's economic growth is expected to moderate in the near term, growing at 4.9 percent this year, with lower public spending to impinge on growth, said the World Bank in its latest report released on Thursday. The international financial institution also projected Malaysia's economy to expand at 4.7 percent in 2019 and 4.6 percent in 2020. It expected Malaysia to achieve high-income country status at some point between 2020 and 2024. In its latest East Asia and Pacific Update 2018, the World Bank said Malaysia's growth this year will be underpinned by continued strong growth in private consumption. The stronger outlook for household spending primarily reflects the three-month tax holiday following the zero-rating of the goods and services tax (GST), and one-off pay-outs to civil servants and pensioners, it said. However, it expected gross fixed capital formation to expand modestly, with lower public capital expenditure than previously projected, to dampen Malaysia's growth prospects. Meanwhile, the bank believed Malaysia's exports will continue to benefit from the rebound in global investment and manufacturing activity, though this cycle is beginning to mature. Malaysia will continue to face substantial risks relating to uncertainty in the external environment as a highly open economy, it said. It also warned that the escalation in protectionist tendencies and trade tensions could have an adverse impact on Malaysia, given its high level of integration with global markets and its dependence on global value chains as a source of growth. Malaysia's economy expanded at a slower than expected rate of 4.5 percent in the second quarter this year. Amid internal and external headwinds, Malaysian government earlier downgraded its full year growth forecast to 5 percent, from 5.5 percent to 6 percent. Last year, Malaysian economy recorded a robust growth of 5.9 percent, supported by faster expansion in both private and public sector spending. The bank also opined that the implementation of several election pledges will require careful management of potential risks. The change from GST back to sales and services tax (SST) and the adjustment to the fuel pricing mechanism -in the absence of adequate compensatory measures - would constrain the fiscal policy space, and place greater reliance on less stable direct taxation and oil-related revenue, it said. The bank anticipated Malaysia's poverty rate continues to fall, with its poverty headcount ratio to decline to 1.2 percent by 2020.