Tuesday, August 5, 2008
More bad news on the economic front
This is something most of us already know but the problem seems to be more pressing. Malaysia is missing out on chances of attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) due to the current political concerns. Investors should be coming to Malaysia because China and Vietnam have lost some steam but investors are adopting a wait and see attitude. But "wait and see" is no good because we are facing strong competition for foreign money. The same questions are being asked across the region - what's happening to Malaysia? When will the excessive politicking ends? But it doesn't look like it will end - there is the Permatang Pauh by-election, the likelihood of Anwar Ibrahim being charged for sodomy, the Umno and MCA party elections. Can we see some positive development only in Jan or Feb? We would have lost a good four to five months by then to our competitors. There are more concerns - The Edge Financial Daily reported today that Maybank could suffer total losses of up to RM3.5bil if it was forced to sell down the 20% block in PT Bank International Indonesia Tbj (BII) within two years. It's already bad enough that Maybank may have to lose the RM480mil deposit it had paid to Temasek Holdings for the purchase of the Singapore's company's stake of 55% in BII for RM4.9bil. The purchase of the stake had become a talking point in town, probably even in the region, because it was about 23% premium over the market price of the stock then. So the questions remained - who were responsible for this great idea of taking over BII? So, can foreign investors be blamed when they look at the state of Malaysia's economy? The last thing they need - and we need - are politicians who only care about themselves.