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December 6, 2007 

Govt to keep providing business-friendly environment

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi says Malaysia will continue to provide a conducive environment to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) into the country.

Looking at the country's track record since Merdeka, he said, Malaysia has always practised an open policy.

"We will continue to provide incentives to encourage investors (and in the course of) 'our openness', (it has led) to wider linkages with foreign companies," he said in an interview with executive editor of Forbes and editor of Forbes Asia, Tim Ferguson, at Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) here today.

The event was held in conjunction with Forbes Asia Fabulous 50 & Businessmen of the Year Award ceremony and dinner here today.

Also present were Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz and her deputy Ng Lip Yong.

Asked how Malaysia could strike a balance between attracting global capital and at the same time guarding the local interests, the prime minister said: "We are aware (that) we impose conditions with regards to Bumiputras, (and) so far we have done fairly well."

He said many companies namely, from European Union, Japan and the United States operating in Malaysia have been doing well in their business and, have no intention to leave.

According to Abdullah Malaysia was liberalising its policy in many ways.

Citing the Iskandar Development Region, he said, the government, through its Foreign Investment Committee, has liberalised the capital ownership by foreigners.

"We have made some adjustments," he said.

The prime minister said he was criticised when the policy was introduced but today it has bore fruit with the emergence of Bumi managers.

"Many of them have worked in government-linked companies like Petronas.

"Some the companies they worked in have ventured overseas without getting assistance," he said.

Earlier, in his speech Abdullah said IOI Corp was the only Malaysian company listed on Forbes list and hoped more local companies like Petronas and Maybank would be included in future.

Meanwhile the awards were presented by Rafidah.

Forbes Asia has named K.V. Kamath of ICICI Bank as its Businessmen of the Year for 2007. (BERNAMA)

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