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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    22 July 2012

Wall Street Journal all praise for Malaysia’s economy


Malaysia is witnessing a commendable momentum in economic growth which the country needs to sustain in light of the potential impact from weak global trade and domestic political uncertainties.

An article in the Wall Street Journal website titled “Malaysia's Days in the Sun” cited a buzz of excitement among foreign investors in Malaysia due to a recent string of good news in business and economics usually generated in global financial centres.

“New York, Hong Kong, London...Kuala Lumpur? Malaysia is going gangbusters. Now, it must sustain the momentum,” the international business newspaper said.

Among key recent events in Malaysia which the newspaper article cited was the US$3.3 billion (10 billion ringgit) listing of Felda Global Ventures Berhad, which will be followed by IHH Healthcare's US$2 billion (6.3 billion) initial public offering (IPO), the world's second and third largest IPOs this year.

Malaysia's benchmark KLCI index also hit a record on Wednesday after rising almost 7 per cent this year, the article noted.

The country's economy was also praised, due to low unemployment, a benign inflation of about 2 per cent and gross domestic product growth expected to be around 5 per cent this year.

Malaysia's banks also looked healthy with strong asset quality, with deleveraging by European banks posing no big threat, the article said, citing a report by rating company Moody's.

The article, however, warned of external and domestic risks which Malaysia needed to deal with.

It said a prolonged slump in global trade would hurt, as Malaysia's net exports were equal to about 16 per cent of GDP, much higher than the ratio for neighbours such as Indonesia and the Philippines.

On the domestic front, the newspaoer said foreign investors were hoping that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's agenda to improve infrastructure and boost investment, including in oil and gas and tourism, would stay on track regardless of the outcome of the next general election.

“Malaysia has momentum. But much now depends on domestic politics and the depth of the weakness in global trade,” the article said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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