Investors are unimpressed by the Malaysian government’s ‘clueless’ performance in economic matters, said former finance minister Daim Zainuddin.
In an interview with FMT, he said falling foreign direct investment rates indicated investors were not confident that the government knew what it was doing.
“The government does not seem to have a plan. It is as simple as that. No investor will enter a country where they feel incompetence is so glaring.
“If we want to regain our status as a good investment destination, the leaders need to be better and, at the moment, investors do not see that happening.
“Don’t forget investors have choices. And they vote with their feet,” he said.
Malaysia had seen a larger decline in FDIs compared to its neighbours Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said recently.
Daim said this showed Malaysia had become less competitive as an investment destination and that the country’s leaders must step up to prevent further slide.
He said the government’s decision to declare a state of emergency did not help matters.
“To mitigate the negativity surrounding the declaration, the government has to act in a transparent manner so as not to further undermine investors’ sentiment and confidence.
“It should be lifted when it has fulfilled its stated purpose and must not be prolonged. I hope that the new special independent emergency committee will not be a paper tiger,” he said.
For Malaysia to overcome its economic problems, Daim said a compelling future growth narrative with clear focus, strategy and investment-friendly policy was needed.
He suggested that the government took specific measures such as accelerate domestic direct investments (DDIs), link DDIs and FDIs with SMEs, expedite regulatory reforms, tackle shortage of skills and underemployment, and implement credible economic and industrial plans to instil confidence in the Malaysian economy and capital market. – TMI