Government should seriously address the concerns about poor transparency, labour
standards and human rights which prompted the withdrawal of California Public
Employees’ Retirement System
(Calpers), the largest United States pension fund, from Malaysia and three other
Southeast Asian countries instead of seeming to derive perverse pleasure from
such unexpected international attention.
National Economic Action Council
executive director, Datuk Mustapha Mohamed, for instance, reacted by criticising
Calpers for “lack of insight into the region’s potential” - which is as
good as telling Calpers that “the
loss is yours and not mine”!
such an attitude, why should Malaysia be sending delegation after delegation
overseas to attract foreign investments as we might just as well sit tight in
the country to wait and see who are stupid enough not to recognise Malaysia’s
investment potential and to invest in
can be no reason for such government complacency over the Calpers withdrawal,
especially with the recent spate of adverse international media reports about al
Qaeda links, networks and operatives in Malaysia and the
inclement international economic environment as reflected by the
55% drop in American investments in
Malaysia last year, which slumped to RM3.31 billion from RM7.49 billion the
previous year, and the competition from China for foreign direct investments.
Calpers does not have substantial investments in Malaysia, with only an
estimated US$100 to US$300 million in the Kuala Lumpur stock market,
the move could have long-term implications in discouraging other big
pension funds from investing in Malaysia as a result of the Calpers blacklist.
However, Malaysians should presently be more concerned about the government’s unrealistic and unprofessional reaction to the Calpers withdrawal than to Calpers decision itself, and the government should demonstrate that it is able to seriously address the concerns of Calpers, which looks beyond traditional economic factors and considers basic democratic principles.