FDI figures disputed

DAP’s chief economist, Tony Pua unleashed his opinion about Malaysia’s FDI 3 days ago in all online media; blaming Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak entirely on this issue. Maybe he should focus on the Pakatan states which are not doing so well as compared to other BN led state governments.

FDI figures disputed

THE World Investment Report 2010 issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) reported a significant plunge in Malaysia’s FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in 2009.

The report has given Pakatan Rakyat leaders and supporters a much needed opportunity to deflect public attention away from the problems plaguing states under the Pakatan rule. DAP’s “economic adviser” Tony Pua has issued statements to buttress his charge that investors had totally lost confidence in Malaysia.

His statements betray a lack of understanding of the issue. I am not sure how Unctad arrived at the FDI figure of US$1.38 billion but Mida (Malaysian Industrial Development Authority) had months ago published in its website that Malaysia procured FDI worth US$6.48 billion last year. Sabah and Sarawak alone had attracted more than US$1.38 billion each last year.

Based on the figure of US$6.48 billion, Malaysia has done well compared to its regional peers. The numbers seem to indicate that foreign investors’ confidence in Malaysia had sky-rocketed. I had been travelling to Europe, Asia and the US in the last few months for business purposes and had the opportunity to speak to business leaders and investors. Almost everyone seemed to agree that Malaysia has made significant progress economically and politically. This is a sea change in perception compared to my trip in 2008 when the investors’ sentiments were mostly bearish.

The second point that Pua had pointed out was on the outflow of FDI. Malaysian firms have grown in recent years to be regional and even global players and champions. They have been investing and acquiring companies overseas. As such there is an outflow of FDI.

I agree with Pua that a drop in FDI shows a loss of confidence in the government. I am sure Pua would concur with me that the 80% drop in FDI for Penang is a testament that the investors have no confidence in the state’s leadership or its policies.

Calvin Sankaran
Bukit Mertajam


25 thoughts on “FDI figures disputed

  1. “I agree with Pua that a drop in FDI shows a loss of confidence in the government. I am sure Pua would concur with me that the 80% drop in FDI for Penang is a testament that the investors have no confidence in the state’s leadership or its policies.”

    No, no, no….this applies only to BN Government.

    The DAP Government is perfect, efficient, transparent, freedom of anti-BNspeech, tidak berlidah biawak, and….if you still dont want to believe, just ask Lim Tee Puu@ Lim Boo Hong the CM.

    (Dapigs goon still denying that Lim Tee Puu was given a seat at the Bukit Bendera function. The one actually sitting on the glamorous yellow leather sofa was actually Maharaja Lim Klen Tong, next to the great train robber Yaacop Nor)


  2. dia orang ni sama semua. they “litterally” oppose to anything because they are the opposition sampai in the states they are the government also they act like they are opposition. kerat-kerat 18 tony pua ni

    they are the die hard ultimate opposition.
    sekarang in selangor kelahi sama sendiri. rakyat selangor suka tengok adun kelahi tiap-tiap minggu lepas tu tunjuk dalam tv. bangga lah tu !
    Tak suka sangat khir toyo & umno bongkak tu, rasakan sendiri.
    undi untuk tengok sandiwara politik tak ada kemajuan

    benang kalau basah tak boleh tegak
    tengok cm lim bengap ni, gambar memang tak boleh bohong
    gambar kalau ada chance bohong, pergi cari mp gigit telinga tian chua
    ni benda yang tak ada, diada-adakan

    buang pasir aje


  3. That’s why we should take he said like a pinch of salt. He is nothing but a politician made glamorous by opposition media to demonize BN government everyway possible.

    On the other hand it’s good to see someone who take the initiative to rebut him. We need more Calvin Sankaran to help the government fight misinformation by opposition media.


  4. I read a letter by the same author in both The Sun and Malaysiakini and some socio-political blogs. The writer claimed that UNCTAD got its figures wrong. Then, he blamed Tony Pua for not cross-checking with the MIDA statistics before attacking the government for the bad performance.

    I highly doubted that UNCTAD and Tony Pua can get it wrong. As someone who enjoys looking into numbers and finding the true answer, I decided to look into the writer’s claim.

    It is actually quite hard to find the FDI inflow figure for Malaysia. The Malaysia Department of Statistics website is more un-user friendly even when compared against the notoriously difficult to navigate National Bureau of Statistics of China website. But, I manage to find the press release by MIDA. Here’s the important excerpt from the press release.

    From the total approved investments last year, foreign direct investments (FDIs) accounted for 67.8% or RM22.1 billion and domestic investments made up the balance of RM10.5 billion or 32.2%.

    The figure above more or less matches the figure provided in the letter by Mr. Calvin Sankaran after converting it into USD.This Mr. Calvin Sankaran goes about attacking Tony Pua credibility and qualification as an Oxford economics graduate without looking at his own qualification. Hello uncle, total approved investments is not FDI. Total approved investments are proposals to invest in Malaysia that is approved by the government but the actual act of investing the money in Malaysia have not complete or begin yet. The proposed amount may take a few years to be deployed fully. The RM22.1billion figure being mentioned by MIDA is the best case scenario. Some investors may decide not to proceed on with the investments after the approval like the case of some Dubai-based investors in Iskandar.

    Another allegation by Mr Sankaran is quoted below:
    First of all, had Pua followed the FDI trends, he would have taken cognisance of the fact that Uuctad’s data on Malaysia’s FDI inflows are completely wrong. Further, had Pua done his homework, he would have surely discovered that the data provided by the UN agency simply does not make any logical sense.
    I am not sure how did Unctad arrive at the FDI figure of US$1.38 billion but Mida had months ago had published on its website that Malaysia procured FDI worth US$6.48 billion in 2009.
    On one paragraph, he claimed that UNCTAD data do not make any logical sense, then, he went on to say that he did not know how UNCTAD arrive at the FDI figure. I would like to ask Mr Sankaran, how you know the figure is illogical when you do not know how they arrive at the figure? A quick check at the UNCTAD methodology would reveal that there are nothing wrong with their definition of FDI. You would expect a responsible person to spend a minute or two to google UNCTAD methodology before writing a letter that will be published in a national newspaper. I also find it laughable that the author can question the UNCTAD figure but trust the MIDA figure blindly.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight a lot of reasoning error that the writer made. I think our Malaysian education system is so screw up that most people cannot think logically anymore. This problem is not just limited to Mr Sankaran, it happened to most Malaysian (me included but at least I try guard against making such an error).

    JMD : Tried to look into UNCTAD website but could not find the methodology used by them on our FDI for the quick check. Could you be so kind to assist me in providing the exact link to it? Thank you. Furthermore, I believe UNCTAD get their figures from MIDA and MITI in the first place… For more info on our current FDI status, please visit here.


  5. Who wants to invest in Penang when it is so politically unstable ? All because the federal and state governments are from two different sides. Everything by either side will end up as political issues with each one finding fault with each other. Examples are

    1. Penang Port issue
    2. Penang Botanical Gardens
    3. Air force project in Tanjong Bunga
    4. RM 100 gift from state govt to senior citizens – federal minister says the amount shameful


  6. Tony Pua (opposition) made his millions in singapore. He don’t really need to think about money any more.
    He is really passing his time in parliament. His credentials speak for itself. Due to this, he will keep on winning his seat.

    Then we look at Mukhriz mahathir (ruling party). he was bailed out by danaharta for his role in Tongkah. If you offered services to his company in senawang (a factory making fibre optics), you may never get paid. He was probably a recipient of govenrment scholarship. Until today, he still live off the govenrment despite all the assistance.


    • Still Sputjam,

      you still writing through your arse even after almost a year now…oh dear

      I said adi to u before…
      go fly kite laa…
      maybe u can even open a business that specializes in kite making


  7. sputjam said “if you offered services to his company in senawang (a factory making fibre optics), you may never get paid. ”

    u ada facts ka? atau as usual u tembak sembrano, when cornered, u changed topics….like Lee Kuan Yew’s wife chartered SIA flight from London?

    Talk facts la, give company or suppliers name who didnt get paid. I m sure you have the list.

    we wait for the list, the name….or another Lee Kuan Yew’s wife crab having to queue up at Singapore hospital for heart treatment!!!


    • after more than one year, you get partial payment from mukhriz’s fibre optic company. My friend given up chasing after them. Waste petrol from KL to senawang.I believe Mihkriz has left the company and the company has probably shut down by now.

      What i really meant to say is that, guys like tony pua did not cost the tax payers much, as his family probably paid for his higher education and he wants to contribute to nation building in a positive way,after selling off his singapore company, and guys like Mukhriz cost tax payers tonnes of money, and still nothing much to show. His brothers also in the same boat.

      What many malays do not understand is that, the chinese and indian community are not asking for much. Many of them love this country. That is why they participate in elections. They want more say in how things are done, more efficiently. They cannot stand the malay way of doing things. Too slow. Just look at the malay service industry. The workers are like day dreaming zombies. Even the cashier speaks on the mobile phone when there are people trying to make payments. And the waiters are busy going around doing nothing because they are not observant, except thinking about their girlfriends.
      And look at the slow malay walk. even the malay school kids walk aceoss the road taking their own sweet time.


      • You wrote too long….yet you talk fast like an indian without substance.

        so, straight to the point, where is the list of suppliers who were not paid by this fibre optic company?

        Your “my friend”??? is that how you substantiate your allegations? that being the case, I’d rather be a slow zombie malay than a talk-cock indian.

        p/s: my friend told me that his friend’s friend told his uncle’s friend’s neighbour that all 30 of his friend’s suppliers got paid by this fibre optic company within 30-60 days of delivery. Must be something wrong with your “my friend” eh? Probably trying to cheat the company by supplying sub-standard made in india materials eh!

        how ab that mr sput racist?


  8. See how silly the political battles can be. Was at the new the Pusat Informasi at the Penang Municipal Park which is popularly known a Youth Park. There is a sign board at the front “Sumbangan Kerajaan Persekutuan”. It would be more appropriate to say “Sumbangan Pembayar Cukai”


  9. I’m not sure if it is a matter of lack of understanding on the part of this chauvinistic and ultra kiasu Tony Pua.

    Isn’t he the DAP Publicity Chief or something. Look at the kind DAP uses for publicity – the “Sir Wong” feller in Sabah, a Deputy Publicity Chief or something, even doctored his photograph to show he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth of England. Imagine the extent they would go to get publicity!

    More than cheap (and disastrous for “Sir Wong”), it is a clear indication of non-respect for the Constitutional provision on Bumiputera Special Position and the NEP when he proposed publicly the withdrawal of discounts from sales of houses developed in Selangor. This is the dangerous kind, touching on the sensitivities of the Malays.


    • Dear Abu,
      even bumiputra dontch wantch to buy bumiputra status houses.
      Reason_ very difficult to sell. You may get your discount, but your resale will also likely to be very difficult and way below market price.
      Trying to remove bumiputra status on your property is unlikely to be approved.


      • Here you go, “very difficult to sell” talking through your arse again.

        I sold my house to a chinese in Subang Jaya no problem? (Of course I am fu&*%ing regret!!! that I sold to a chinese)



        • I dontch get it. Once you bought a bumi lot, it will be registered as such in the pejabat tanah, and you cannot anyhow sell it to “others”. Maybe corruption involve.

          You have to get permission from the pejabat tanah first to delist your house as bumi unit. This is a hassle for many as not easy to get.

          It is not me, who made this racist policies. You should enquire the UMNO for coming out with racist policies.

          I have no problem interactig with any race. Only racists have problem interacting with me.


  10. I am not trained in economics and I don’t know much about economics. But I do know economists are often disagreed on many things. They have not even agreed on the actual causes of the Great World Depression some 80 years ago. So why the hell talk about Oxford graduate economists and such.

    They even disagree on MITI figures and what MITI says on the FDI situation in the country. Yet I know for a fact that that there are many economics-trained officers in MITI. So why bother about those out to show the Government in bad light. They will always twist and turn the figures, the definition of FDI, the methodology of calculating FDI figures and so on.

    What the heck, they even pood-pooh Tun Dr Mahathir’s statement that FDI slackening is due to external factors – foreign countries don’t have much money to to invest. Yet today CNN and BBC talk about China’s engine slowing down – a deliberate exercise to cool down a bit the rather over-heating tiger economy. Former US Central Bank Governor Alan Greenspan also mention about the slackening in the US economy, likely to get worse if the property market does not sustain.

    So, Mr Economists, Oxford graduate experts and ardent critics and doomsday economists of Malaysia etc, are you the ones who are right and others, including MITI, wrong? Can buta-economy like me pooh-pooh you with what I learnt above?


  11. CPL,
    i’m sick of hearing populist like u saying taxpayer money, taxpayer money… by right it should always sound government money. why? because collectively the government not only gain money through taxpayer’s money, but also through issuance of bonds, FDIs, fees n penalties, corporate tax n so forth.


  12. Wan, August 10, 2010 at 11:20 pm
    Additional studies on the Depression may bring forth new theories, but the symptoms and effects aren’t being disputed.

    As to the figs in Qs, 1 set talks abt actual and the other approved…. 1 tentang beras , dan yg satu lagi nasi…

    Jentayu, August 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm
    The govt acts on our behalf, all the bonds and other borrowings will have to be paid for, eventually by you and I!!!!
    There is no such thing as Govt’s money as you implied. That’s why all such monies as required by the govt has to be approved by the rakyat’s representative either in Parliament or State Assembly as applicable.

    Hope this helps.


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