Investors’ confidence needs to be restored

The govt really needs to go all out against corruption and poverty, says economist


IT IS time for the government to work on restoring investors’ confidence to boost economic recovery post-Covid-19 pandemic.

Economist Tan Sri Dr Ramon Navaratnam (picture) said confidence among domestic and foreign investors is at a low point due to the handling of Covid-19 and corruption scandals which seem more prevalent of late.

He cited the recent “meat cartel” issue as an example that could possibly dent the country’s reputation as a halal hub, thus sending wrong signals to investors.

“Investor’s trust in Malaysia is becoming low and this will further impact our country and economy if many issues are not addressed.

“Integrity is key. For the long term, the government really needs to go all out against corruption and poverty,” Ramon said when contacted recently.

The corporate shake-ups at government-linked companies (GLCs), which saw the return of politicians helming top posts, also do not help allay investors’ concerns on possible interference in business dealings.

To recap, former Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh was appointed as chairman of the Federal Land Development Authority effective May 1, replacing Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh.

Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) on May 8 announced the appointment of Mohd Bakke as new chairman to replace Rosli Man.

Prasarana Malaysia Bhd named Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abd Rahman as the firm’s chairman in May, while Tanjong Karang MP Tan Sri Noh Omar become the chairman of Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd in July.

Other major changes this year would be the appointment of Tengku Muhammad Taufik Tengku Aziz as the new president and group CEO of Petroliam Nasional Bhd effective July 1.

His predecessor, Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan, has been appointed as the new group chairman of Malaysia Airlines Bhd on the same date.

This year also saw the return of corporate bigwigs, such as Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar as the chairman of Bursa Malaysia Bhd, Tan Sri Zamzamzairani Mohd Isa as chairman of Malayan Banking Bhd and former TM CEO Datuk Seri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly as the new group MD of Boustead Holdings Bhd this month.

Meanwhile, University of Tasmania’s Asian Studies Prof James Chin said the structural problems in local GLCs need to be addressed to make it more attractive to the investors.

“It really doesn’t matter which government, whether it is the Opposition or current government, is in power. GLCs in Malaysia do not behave like normal businesses which supposedly face a lot of competition.

“GLCs in Malaysia don’t really force competition or create a real economy. They actually discourage competition because they are so big,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

Chin said the risk of political appointment in the business is not on par with the organisation’s original objective.

“The big winners in this restructuring are those businessmen who are doing business with GLCs pre-2018, so they are all making a big comeback.

“But for the rest of the country over the long term, it will have a negative impact,” he said.

Read our earlier report

Changes in GLCs show no sign of abating