Exports have shrunk in the last two months in response to weakening global demand that has also hit other Asian exporters. But unlike its rivals, Malaysia faces a more deep-rooted export challenge – a serious decline in the export role of its manufacturers that has been partly masked by increases in commodity exports. Chart of the week takes a look. Continue reading »
Malaysia’s ruling coalition since independence has once again emerged victorious in an election. But David Pilling, the FT’s Asia Editor, says that the election marks an important shift in the country’s politics and isn’t just a continuation of the status quo.
As Jeremy Grant writes in Friday’s FT, Malaysia’s election this weekend is likely to be the closest in the country’s history. The ruling Barison Nasional party, which has dominated Malaysian politics since independence in 1957, faces the first real challenge to its power and while prime minister Najib Razak says he is confident of winning a two-thirds majority, the outcome is far too close to call. More Malaysians than ever before seem ready for change. Are they likely to get it? Continue reading »
So, your reputation has taken a battering in recent years and you’re now just about out of the spotlight. And, even if you’re not deeply loved, at least most people have got bored of calling you the Vampire Squid.
More importantly for investors, it is likely to be the most closely fought race in the country’s democratic history, and nerves about the pending election have been clear in both the debt and equity markets for some time. Continue reading »
Waiting for Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister, to call a much-anticipated general election is getting to be painful.
First it was to have been called at the beginning of the month. This would have meant polling in the last week of March, a convenient time since schools are out and classrooms are often used as polling stations in Malaysia. Continue reading »
It’s not the first time that somebody from the emerging markets has tried to challenge the dominance of the world’s three big credit rating agencies – S&P, Moody’s and Fitch.
But a consortium of companies based in Brazil, South Africa, India, Malaysia and Portugal is bringing a novel approach to the problem. Together they aim to have the critical mass that they couldn’t hope to have alone. Continue reading »
Foreign direct investment into the Asean countries has risen strongly in the past few years and is now on a par with FDI into China. As Hak Bin Chua, Asean economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch writes in a report on Friday, this “is in sharp contrast to a decade ago, when there were widespread fears that Asean would be marginalised by China’s rise.”
The change is partly a result of political issues such as recent territorial tensions between Japan and China which are diverting some Japanese investment south. But is is also driven by social and economic factors such as demographics that will not change direction any time soon. Continue reading »
The government is unlikely to be unseated in Malaysia’s upcoming parliamentary election, which is good news for the business environment. A win by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition will eliminate most investors’ concerns about instability that have recently contributed to market volatility.
That said, given the complexities of Malaysian politics, a reduced margin of victory for the incumbent could still impact the speed with which BN’s ambitious reforms are introduced. Continue reading »
Clashes between Malaysian security forces and the followers of a Philippine Muslim royal family leader trying to reclaim Sabah have been confined so far to two remote districts in North Borneo but the economic side effects of the conflict are already evident in the Philippines’ southernmost province, Tawi-Tawi. Continue reading »
Promoting investment into places like Sabah, on the eastern tip of Malaysia’s bit of Borneo, isn’t easy at the best of times. It is a remote part of Southeast Asia known mostly for spectacular diving and eco-tourism in lush rain forests.
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