Don’t rely on FDI to be Malaysia’s ‘saviours’, says KRI economic adviser

Senior adviser at Khazanah Research lnstitute Jomo Kwame Sundaram speaks at the Malaysian Economic Convention 2019 in Petaling Jaya June 17, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Senior adviser at Khazanah Research lnstitute Jomo Kwame Sundaram speaks at the Malaysian Economic Convention 2019 in Petaling Jaya June 17, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA, June 17 — Prominent economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram today cautioned the government against being too caught up in rising foreign direct investments flowing into Malaysia.

Instead, the senior adviser at government-linked think tank Khazanah Research Institute said Putrajaya should focus on strengthening domestic investors whom he said formed the foundation of the country’s economy.

“We should start thinking about domestic investors because most of our investors, investments in this country and in most countries are domestic.

“It’s more than 90 per cent. To think about foreign investors as if they are our saviours and salvation and so on... no,” he told reporters at the Malaysian Economic Convention 2019 here.

Predicting rougher headwinds to come, Jomo also advised politicians to set aside their political differences and join forces to ensure Malaysia’s economy is able to weather the external challenges.

He said the problem facing the nation goes beyond Malaysia’s borders as it is linked to the ongoing US-China trade war.

“This economic war isn’t just about trade between US and China for example. We are caught and China is our major trading partner and also there are a lot of investments in China and we are tied up in joint ventures such as Proton and Geely.

“Those things we can’t run away from, whether it’s this government or the last government, it is now part of our economy. But how do we deal with that?” he asked, rhetorically.

He said there were many ways, and that one method was for people to recognise the need to unite to survive the next economic onslaught and deal with it as a “country” rather than in their own separate partisan political silos.

“Forget about politics for a moment. You can wait until the next election and worry about politics.

“But for the time being I think we need to unite for the country’s sake as it is not good,” he said of the world economic condition.

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