Sheriff on Foreign Investment.
Some people are saying that the government is going overboard in promoting foreign investment which they say is misplaced because the operations of foreign corporations do not bring much spin-off benefits to the local economy.
The main spin-offs from foreign corporations operating in Malaysia are their use of local services such as food catering, transport, hotels, and rented houses, international schools, airline travel, banking, maids. Without foreign corporations, these services will have limited demand. Malaysian maids working for families of expatriate executives are well paid. Sunway’s high end residential development in Mont Kiara will not be successful without the American, British, Japanese, Korean, Chinese expatriate families living there.
There are several local entrepreneurs who have set up their own businesses leveraging on their working experience in the companies operating in Bayan Lepas, Penang. Among them are my golfing mates at TPC .
The presence of foreign investments makes their governments more interested in Malaysia and its govt’s foreign and local policies. If our govt adopts extremist policies on race and religion threatening the peace and stability of the country, the foreign chambers of commerce will ring the alarm bell with their embassies in KL on the human rights violations for fear they will lead to unrest and political uncertainity, which is bad for business . They will have to decide whether to remain here or move to another ASEAN country. The foreign presence acts as a buffer against political extremism in Malaysia.
Foreign direct investments in the country are also important for the KL stock market. They create a confidence factor in attracting capital inflows and buying stocks in local companies. With more liquidity in the stock market, local companies will have a wider opportunity to raise the capital for their development and expansion. Raising capital by listing shares on the stock market or issuing bonds are cheaper ways of financing than borrowing from the commercial banks.
Thus, we should not jump on the bandwagon to criticize the government’s promotion of foreign investment as there are considerable advantages that it brings to the local economy.
Our political leaders and ministers in PN govt shd understand that they cannot talk about promoting foreign investments and high tech companies to locate in Malaysia and in the same breath, frighten locals and foreigners by declaring to stamp out secularism and liberals in the country. When foreign investors look for a suitable location for their multinational business, they will prefer a country that has the same democratic values as their progressive govts at home. Why would they want to come to Malaysia if they think our leaders practice the old style dictatorial values to protect their grip on power ? In the light of world wide adoption of the UN ‘s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs ) , investors will stay away from Malaysia if they regard our tough stance on secularism and liberalism as being non-compliant with the SDG goals.
I call upon the PM to retract what he said aboyt reigning in the secularism and the liberal trends in Malaysia before the damage to our image becomes too serious to repair.