Global investors to return to Malaysia on improved transparency

A man walks past monitors displaying stock prices in the trading gallery of the RHB Investment Bank Bhd headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Bloomberg pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: More global investors are expected to return to Malaysia, buoyed by the government’s efforts in bringing down corruption while giving more emphasis to transparency, says an economist.

IQI Global chief economist Shan Saeed said investor confidence in the country’s economy had been improving, as they could see results from the government’s transparency initiatives.

This, he said, could be seen from foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow in the first quarter which recorded the highest realised FDI in the country’s history at RM21.7 billion or an increase of 94.8% in FDI.

Talking to Bernama, he said Malaysia’s decision to continue some of the mega projects, including East Coast Rail Link, would further enhance foreign investors’ confidence in the country.

“On top of that, Malaysia has a sound fiscal foundation and strong balance sheet,” he said.

Taking into account the US-China trade war and the current global uncertainties, Shan Saeed envisaged the country’s gross domestic product would expand between 4.3% and 4.5% in the second quarter.

“With the current ongoing trade war between the US and China, as well as other uncertainties, investors are adopting a wait-and-see approach,” he said.

On the ringgit, he expected the currency to improve in the second quarter on the back of stable oil price, which likely to remain around US$65.50 per barrel, as well as better prices for commodities especially palm oil.