New vehicle sales in Malaysia dropped sharply in April, by over 23% or 45,187 units from 58,741 units a year earlier, according to data gathered by the Malaysian Automotive Association (MAA).

The decline follows an abnormal spike in sales in March, when volumes increased by over 14% as dealers offered discounts to smoothen the transition to the new goods and services tax at the beginning of April.

Consumer sentiment has also become more cautious, reflecting the recent decline in the value of the Malaysian ringgit which is driving up inflation.

Passenger vehicles sales fell by over 22% to 40,902 units in April, from 52,496 units a year earlier, while commercial vehicle sales plunged over 31% to 4,285 units from 6,245 units.

In the first four months of the year vehicle sales were down by 2.4% at 213,493 units, from 218,654 units in the same period of last year.