NEW YORK: Barisan Nasional’s landslide win on Sunday has reinforced investor confidence in the country around the world, the US-Malaysia Business Council said.
Council director Marc P. Mealy said that even before the polls, Malaysia was attracting investment flows, because of its strong economic fundamentals, macroeconomic stability and pro-business environment.
“The democratic elections simply reinforce those aspects about Malaysia as a good place to do business,” he said here yesterday.
“I think US business people will have even greater interest in Malaysia as Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi uses his political mandate to make improvements in the economy,” he added.
Mealy said that the Barisan’s overwhelming results indicated several things about Malaysia, its people and democracy.
“Malaysians clearly voted in favour of the agenda and priorities articulated by Abdullah during his first 100 days in office.
“The PM clearly has a political mandate from the people to both continue some of the old and adopt brand new policy approaches to achieve the priorities he has identified,” he said.
US business people had already stated their support for Abdullah’s desire to fight corruption, have fiscal discipline, support small and medium-size enterprises, promote agricultural/rural development and improve transparency and efficiency in government.
US newspapers carried reports of Barisan’s resounding victory
The Washington Post in a report datelined Singapore, said that in endorsing Abdullah’s call for religious moderation, voters turned against PAS.
“The National Front coalition not only won the majority of parliamentary seats in Malay areas, it also recaptured the local legislature in the largely Malay state of Terengganu, which had emerged as the country’s fiercest campaign battleground after the opposition took control there in the last elections,” the paper said.
The New York Times had a picture of a jubilant Abdullah being chaired by supporters.
“If the election says one thing, it says that Malaysia is rejecting the Islamisation policies of PAS,” the paper quoted Dr Bridget Welsh, assistant professor of Southeast Asia studies at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
The report said that Abdullah had emphasised throughout the brief campaign that Malaysians needed to deliver an outstanding majority of votes for him so that foreign investors would keep coming.