KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia wants to brand itself internationally as a corporate nation that emphasises quality, security, service and efficiency.
And the man to lead the way will be none other than Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“I’ll do that. I’m the CEO of Malaysia,” he said at a press conference after opening the Invest Malaysia 2005 Conference yesterday where he announced the names of five foreign stock brokers and one foreign fund manager which will be allowed to operate in the country.
The five stock brokers are CLSA, Credit Suisse First Boston, JP Morgan, Macquarie and UBS while the sole fund manager is Aberdeen Asset Management.
Earlier in his speech, Abdullah said that although there was a good story to tell about Malaysia, it was unfortunate that the country was consistently plagued by a perception problem, particularly among foreign investors.
“We are perceived to be still clinging on to capital controls when all major controls have been lifted.
“We are perceived to lack corporate governance when our standards are equal to, if not higher than, many other jurisdictions.”
He said that clearly Malaysia was not doing enough to publicise its efforts.
“We are not realising our full potential to effectively market and brand Malaysia. Much more can, and should, be done.
“Malaysia is truly a secret that needs to be discovered,” he said.
The conference was organised by Bursa Malaysia Bhd in collaboration with Commerce International Merchant Bankers (CIMB) and Credit Suisse First Boston.
Abdullah pointed out that the country was governed by a sound regulatory framework and prescribed to high standards of disclosure and corporate best practices.
“Let us be bold in reinforcing that we have large and well managed companies.
“And that Malaysian companies are able to compete with the best that the global business community has to offer.”
He urged all companies, particularly the listed ones, to adopt investor relations (IR) practices and programmes.
This was because having effective IR would set them apart from competition and communicate trust to stakeholders and the public at large.
“Let me encourage all of you to go forth and tell your story. Tell Malaysia’s story to the world. Tell the story with pride and dignity; with truth and transparency; and with grace and humility,” he said.
Later at the press conference, Abdullah said the perception problem among foreign investors was quite a serious one.
“I have been following comments about what we are doing and I have come to the conclusion that they (foreign investors) are not very well briefed about what we are doing.
“Perhaps it’s our fault because we are not telling enough or we have not been very clear when we tell our story and about what we do and hope to achieve,” he said.
Asked about criticism by former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that Abdullah had not fulfilled his pledge to curb corruption, he said this could not be done in a day or two because there was a lot to do.
“It’s a battle that must go on,” he said, adding that he had told the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to do their job without fear or favour.
Abdullah also pointed out that the ACA needed solid evidence to act against anyone and could not depend on poison-pen letters or short message service (SMS) because it would not be right to have an innocent person publicly persecuted or persecuted by the media.
“You know that when the ACA officers go to somebody’s office, the person's reputation is gone because people would believe that he’s corrupt even if he may not be,” he said.
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