Mahathir Mohamad's shock Malaysian election win has raised concerns that his populist promises could undermine economic prospects at an increasingly challenging time for emerging markets, despite hopes elsewhere that he may revive his bold approach to economic management.

The Malaysian economy, while vulnerable in some areas, is widely seen as being in better shape than those the Philippines and Indonesia, which run current account deficits. Malaysia has also halved its budget deficit since the global financial crisis.

Its economy is growing at one of the fastest clips in the world, close to 6 percent, and its stock market in dollar terms is the second-best-performing in Asia. And a surge in crude prices to 3½-year highs has helped the net energy exporter's income.