Malaysia's manufacturing sales, which are a key driver of the economy, sank 22.7% in January from a year earlier, according to official data released on March 19.
The government's statistics department attributed the sharp fall to the poor performance of the computer industry and the iron and steel sector.
The number of people employed in the manufacturing sector, which accounts for about a third of Malaysia's gross domestic product, fell 9% from the same period a year ago.
Malaysian industrial output plunged 20.2% year-on-year in January as the manufacturing, mining and electricity sectors suffered a decline.
The government last week unveiled a stimulus package worth $16.2 billion but warned the export-driven economy could still shrink by 1% this year despite the massive spending.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009