PM: Turn­ing away China's FDI makes no eco­nomic sense

Scare­mon­ger­ing by op­po­si­tion will put na­tion in a bind, says Na­jib

New Straits Times - - Front Page - ZAFIRA AN­WAR KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

TURN­ING away for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment (FDI) from China, as sug­gested by the op­po­si­tion, makes no eco­nomic sense to the coun­try, Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak said yes­ter­day.

He said such a near-sighted ap­proach would only put Malaysia in a bind.

“Al­low me to dwell on the state of for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment, with spe­cial ref­er­ence to the gov­ern­ment’s stand on Chi­nese in­vest­ments in Malaysia, which has been in­creas­ingly politi­cised and blown out of pro­por­tion.

“China is the world’s sec­ond­largest econ­omy and a trad­ing na­tion that is look­ing in­creas­ingly out­wards.

“So it makes no eco­nomic sense for Malaysia to turn away Chi­nese FDl, as some politi­cians are sug­gest­ing,” he said be­fore launch­ing the Na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce of In­dus­try of Malaysia Eco­nomic Fo­rum 2017.

He added that such a my­opic and nar­row-minded view be­trayed a fun­da­men­tal mis­un­der­stand­ing of eco­nom­ics, which would only spell doom for Malaysia.

Na­jib backed his ar­gu­ment with a re­port from the Sta­tis­tics Depart­ment for the first quar­ter of this year, which shows that in­vest­ment from China rep­re­sents two per cent of FDI stock in Malaysia.

“Let me also make it clear that the gov­ern­ment will not com­pro­mise the coun­try’s sovereignty one inch. They are scare­mon­ger­ing and spread­ing lies for their own self­ish po­lit­i­cal rea­sons.

“They do not have the good of Malaysia and its peo­ple at heart.

“The same op­po­si­tion politi­cians who warn about Chi­nese in­vest­ment are the same politi­cians who want to abol­ish GST (Goods and Ser­vices Tax), with no an­swer at all about how they would find the RM41 bil­lion in rev­enue that GST brought in last year.”

China is Malaysia’s largest trad­ing part­ner, while Malaysia is China’s eighth-largest trad­ing part­ner, and the sec­ond largest in Asean.

Na­jib said the gov­ern­ment would be fair in steer­ing the coun­try to­wards a bet­ter fu­ture.

“We will not be a pop­ulist gov­ern­ment for the sake of say­ing things just to win favours.

“But we don’t mind you sup­port­ing us in the next elec­tion,” he said with a smile, which drew laugh­ter from the crowd.

He as­sured the par­tic­i­pants at the fo­rum that the gov­ern­ment would be open to en­gage­ments and con­sul­ta­tions, which would be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion for the 2018 Bud­get.

The sit­u­a­tion out­side his of­fice, he said, was like a “fish mar­ket” as many peo­ple had come to meet him with high hopes.

“I am wor­ried that I may not be able to re­alise ev­ery­body’s ex­pec­ta­tion.

“When peo­ple walk through the door of the prime min­is­ter’s room, they ex­pect what they want to be ap­proved.

“But this is the chal­lenge I face as prime min­is­ter.

“I will not shirk my re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and will ex­e­cute them the best I can for those who want me to lead this na­tion.”

PIC BY MO­HAMAD SHAHRIL BADRI SAALI

Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak at the Na­tional Cham­ber of Com­merce of In­dus­try of Malaysia Eco­nomic Fo­rum 2017 in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

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