Rafidah's many overseas missions to attract foreign investments should be cancelled if the government has taken policy decision not to depend on FDIs, starting with her Japanese mission from March 10 - 18

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya,  Monday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahasthir Mohamad said in Langkawi on Saturday that Malaysia "did not want to continue depending on foreign direct investment (FDI) but would focus on local investment". (Bernama)

If the government does not want foreign direct investment, then the first thing it should do is to cancel all the overseas investment missions of the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Rafidah Aziz planned for the rest of this year, as it would be a waste of public funds when the government no longer wanted FDIs.

Rafidah is slated to lead an investment mission to Japan (Fukuoka, Kobe and Nagoya) from March 10-18, followed by missions to the United States (Raleigh, Minneapolis and Seattle) from April 7 to 17, visits to Bahrain (Manama), United Arab Emirates (Dubai), Lebanon (Beirut) and Saudi Arabia (Jeddah) from April 27 to May 7 and to China (Guangzhou, Chengdu, Beijing and Shanghai) from May 19-30.
Other investment missions which Rafidah had lined up for the rest of the year would include Europe (Germany, United Kingdom and Spain) from June 9-17 and Taiwan (Taipei) and Korea (Seoul and Busan) from August 4-12.
If the government has arrived at a new policy decision as indicated by Mahathir that the government did not want to continue to depend on FDIs for growth, then what is the use and purpose of Rafidah continuing with her many overseas investment missions in the coming months?

In actual fact, the question is not that Malaysia does not want FDIs but that FDIs are avoiding Malaysia as a destination, for two reasons: China has become a more powerful magnet for FDIs and increasing factors which have made FDIs more wary of coming to Malaysia, such as:

  • Malaysia's international image as a "terrorist centre';

  • Malaysia's international perception as an Islamic State following the "929 Declaration" by Mahathir that Malaysia is an Islamic State on Sept. 29, 2001 at the Gerakan national delegates' conference; and

  • Mahathir's image as increasingly anti-West, especially with his recent repeated advocacy of the use of the oil weapon by the Islamic countries against the US and the West, placing him in the company of Saddam Hussein of Iraq as the two leaders publicly espousing the use of the oil weapon against the West in recent years.

There may be very little that Malaysia could do with China emerging as the biggest magnet for FDIs, but the increasingly adverse image of Malaysia to FDIs because of local domestic factors should be urgently addressed and overcome to ensure that Malaysia remain attractive to FDIs as well as domestic investment.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman