Malaysia needs to boost marketing efforts to further attract FDIs

By Jasmine Chin, The Borneo Post

KUCHING: Instead of speculating on uncertain conditions surrounding the macro-environment, Malaysia needs to place a deeper emphasis into marketing its local corporations as this will weather its economy through tough times.

Commenting on this was director and head of research of OSK Research Sdn Bhd (OSK Research) Chris Eng, who observed that Malaysia had remain attractive in the eyes of foreign investors, as seen through positive responses received from the recent ‘Invest Malaysia Hong Kong 2011’.

“The event proved to be a success with a 27-per cent increase in the number of corporates showcased as well as the number of fund managers attending compared with the previous year.

“We believe there is a substantial interest in Malaysian investment stories among Hong Kong investors. A lot of them were keen to identify good buys from among the participating corporate, with many new investors seeking to be briefed on the background of these corporations,” he told The Borneo Post in a recent phone interview.

In view of this, Eng was aware that although Malaysia was increasingly active in its pursuit to attract more foreign investments, the country’s marketing efforts must be sustained and be improved. This was to ensure that longer term transformation plans in the country would appeal to the longer term investors in Hong Kong.

“We are already gaining traction in terms of inflow of investments from Singapore and participants in Europe are confident of our country in light of the progress of our Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

“Hong Kong by itself is an ideal market and therefore we hope to change the perspective of Hong Kong investors towards Malaysia. This will be done by further highlighting the tenacity of Malaysian companies in achieving sustainable long-term growth beyond the country’s borders,” he said.
As such, he believed that Bursa Malaysia played a crucial role in marketing the portfolios of some of the country’s leading corporations; and this should be done without excluding other smaller players.

‘I can see that we have a lot of potential companies out there and the participating groups during the event have drawn out some impressive plans for the coming year. Defensive companies like Aeon Co (M) Bhd, KPJ Healthcare Bhd, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd, QL Resources Bhd and SEG International Bhd have highlighted their respective niches which should see them through challenging periods.

“While Hong Kong investors, especially those with Asean funds are generally familiar with bigger caps in Malaysia, continued marketing of our mid and small cap companies should be done to ensure as well as sustain interest in this rewarding segment of the Malaysian market,” he explained.

Despite noting his concerns for the country’s marketing endeavours, Eng was confident of the nation’s prospects. This was premised on the announcement made by government-backed Performance Management and Delivery Unit’s (Pemandu) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala in its ‘One-Year Report Card’.

In line with the theme ‘Change Perspective’ fitting the ETP, the 14 corporates which participated during the event were either from sectors that would see long term transformation over the next nine years to 2020 were shorter term beneficiaries of the ETP, or regional and global champions in their respective sector.