Malaysia remains solid despite adverse global conditions, says Najib

By A JALIL HAMID - 18 February 2016 @ 8:38 AM

SAN FRANCISCO: Malaysia’s economy has solid fundamentals despite adverse global conditions, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told top fund managers here.

He said the government would continue to maintain prudent fiscal policy, keep the national debt ratio below 55 per cent of the GDP, rein in spending and maintain a current account surplus.

“Malaysia has good prospects. Under adverse conditions, we still perform pretty well,” he said at the opening remarks at Bursa Malaysia and Maybank Investment Bank’s Invest Malaysia roadshow here.

"Moving forward, we believe that performance can be achieved with policies that will not changed."

“I know there is a lot of noise but if you look beyond that and look deeper into Malaysia, we do have a strong fundamental and it is only a question of time before the market realises it,” he said.

He also said the ringgit, which he says is under-performing against the US dollar, would recover in the near future.

Najib, who is also finance minister, said there was a tendency by fund managers to lump Malaysia among the emerging markets.

“But Malaysia has got certain fundamentals that could differentiate it from other emerging markets,” he said.

Also present were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar; Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan and Maybank Investment Bank Bhd CEO John Chong.

The roadshow, called “Invest Malaysia 2016 Conversation Series”, was earlier held Hong Kong, Singapore and London, three of the world’s top financial hubs.

The team has met with 103 fund managers and investors from 79 funds with total assets under management (AUM) of over US$20 trillion with close to 95 per cent being “long only” funds.

This is the first time San Francisco-based fund managers have been able to engage with Najib in a closed-door session.

Some 16 fund managers from 11 asset management companies attended the session. They manage total funds of US$4.5 trillion.

San Francisco is the finance capital of the western United States. There are many brokerage and banking firms with offices in the San Francisco area, and companies such as Charles Schwab and Franklin Templeton Investments have their headquarters here.

As the gateway to Silicon Valley, San Francisco has a particular focus on the technology sector, and the Bay Area is the worldwide headquarters of the venture-capital industry.

Wahid, who is in charge of economic planning, said all the meetings with fund managers in other financial hubs have been well received.

“They said we are proactive in recalibrating the 2016 Budget and our revenue-enhancement measures which provide some upside to partially mitigate the RM9 billion drop in revenue,” he told the NST.

“But they remain concerned with China’s slowdown which could potentially trigger instability in global financial markets,” he said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak addressing fund managers attending the “Invest Malaysia 2016 Conversation Series” roadshow in San Francisco. With him are Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar (left) and Malaysia Ambassador to the United States Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin (right). Bernama Photo