Don't oppose investments from China, elsewhere if projects viable: Munir

19 Jul 2017 / 23:12 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia should not shy away from investments from China or any other country if a proposed project is viable, said CIMB Asean Research Institute (CARI) chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid.
    Commenting on the fund flows from China and the investments in Malaysia, he said depending on whether a project is debt or equity-funded, those involved have to be careful.
    “If debt, we don’t want to be over-extended in terms of debt to anyone but if people are interested in setting up projects, the mix of debt and equity has got to be right. And if the project works, it doesn’t matter where it comes from.
    “We shouldn’t have an aversion as far as investments is concerned, to investments from China or wherever,” he told reporters after a roundtable session on “China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Asean: Economic Opportunities and Asean Centrality” organised by CARI here yesterday.
    “We must ensure the governance or decision-making structures in whatever joint venture that is set up are the government structures that we are used to in Malaysia, in terms of making decisions, having proper board, senior management and so on,” he added.
    Earlier, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak recommended that the government come out with a measure that takes into account the value of investments.
    “The government shoud bring the proposition away from the big number and focus on the value proposition. We could find that Xiamen University is more valuable than the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL),” he said.
    It is important that the country gets away from the “traditional excitement about everything that is large and sexy”.
    “It’s dangerous. We should focus on the value of each project. What are the linkages, social and environmental implications? Just because it’s BRI, China ... are we getting it at the right price? In terms of repayment, are we generating the tax revenue?” Nazir asked.
    Muinir said investments or projects financed by external parties to Malaysia should generate cash flow that is be able to service the loans.
    “Hence you must ensure that when you take loans, not only must you have the necessary cash flow but also earnings in foreign currency to service the foreign currency debt.
    “The government would have to look at its accounts and decide what it can or cannot sustain. We expect the government to know this and be responsible,” said Munir.
    The BRI links 68 countries in three continents, accounting for 70% of the world’s population and 60% of world’s gross domestic product.
    Key projects in Malaysia with China’s involvement include the ECRL, Melaka Gateway, Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park, Xiamen Malaysia University, Forest City in Johor, Methanol and Derivatives Plant in Sarawak, Hebei Steel in Sarawak, and Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline.
    Opportunities in BRI open to Malaysia include lower cost to transport goods, Asia Investment Infrastructure Bank and Maritime Silk Road Fund as financing vehicles, job opportunities for Malaysians, new markets to explore, halal projects and services as well as exchange of technical expertise and knowledge.

    thesundaily_my Sentifi Top 10 talked about stocks