Najib: Respect Britain's choice to leave EU

  • Nation
  • Friday, 24 Jun 2016

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (pic) says Britain's choice to leave the European Union (EU) must be respected by all.

"The UK voters have spoken. As democrats, we must respect the result. We wish our British friends well in the new future they have chosen," he said on Facebook and Twitter following the result of the "Brexit" referendum Friday.

In a statement later, Najib said Britain had taken a "historic and unprecedented" step.

"The future cannot be predicted, although a period of volatility in financial markets is to be expected as the ramifications of the result are understood and as Britain's exit is negotiated," he said.

Najib said they would monitor developments closely and will remain vigilant to any emerging economic risks.

However, he does not expect a major impact on the Malaysian economy with Britain's decision.

"With our sound fundamentals, diversified economic structure and ample liquidity in our financial markets, Malaysia is well positioned to face any volatility.

"I am confident that we will be able to weather this period of uncertainty and the Government will continue to strengthen the economy and further our fiscal reforms," he added.

Futhermore, he also said that Malaysia regards Britain as an important partner in all areas including trade, investment, defence, education and tourism.

He claimed that trade growth between both countries can be seen with British companies such as Rolls Royce, Dyson and BaE Systems increasing their footprint in Malaysia, and with the involvement of Malaysian companies in the redevelopment of the Battersea Power Station.

He also said that Malaysia's economic exposure to Britain is limited, as Britain was not amongst the country's top 10 trading partners and only accounts for about 1% of total trade.

As such, he said, Malaysia may have an opportunity to trade with Britain if it reaches out to strategically important nations beyond the EU.

Najib added that he was confident that the Malaysia-Britain relationship would be maintained and strengthened.

"We are firm allies in the fight against violent extremism, a scourge which affects us all. We must remain united in that long term effort," he said.

On a personal note, he said he had an excellent working relationship with outgoing British prime minister David Cameron and was sad to see him resign, but would look forward to working with his successor.

In the historic referendum, 51.9% or 17,410,742 voters voted in favour of leaving while another 48.1% or 16,141,241 voters voted to remain in the EU.

Britain is the first among 28 member states to leave the EU in its 60-year history.

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