YOURSAY | ‘And why invest in ‘infrastructure redevelopment’ in US when our own is in shambles?’
RM2.6 Billion Turkey Haram: Amid brickbats for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s pledge to boost investments in the US, the National Council of Professors’ Mohamed Mustafa Ishak pointed out that the US is a safe place for investment.
Mr Professor, one need not be a professor to know that the US is a safe place to invest. The bone of contention is, while our country is sorely in need of funds to prop up our economy, is it wise to invest so much in the US?
If the money is invested locally, more jobs can be created. And another big disadvantage is that our ringgit would depreciate further with such a huge outflow of funds.
Already, the prices of imported essentials are skyrocketing. Any further depreciation of the ringgit is definitely not welcomed.
Negarawan: Mohamed Mustafa was quoted as saying, “Malaysia has a need to put money in a safe place where there will be a good return or a high return. Investing in the US is not a bad idea at all."
When the ringgit is weak beyond its fundamental strength, investing in the US will face substantial risks due to medium/long-term currency exchange rate changes.
If the ringgit strengthens against the US dollar, then any US dollar denominated investment will suffer major forex losses.
The ringgit is weak because of a crisis of confidence in the governance of Malaysia and its economy - the "kleptocracy premium", as international investors call it.
Instead of bringing back much-needed foreign direct investment, Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) is trying to "make America great again" by making investments in the US with money we scarcely have.
Why do we need to invest in “infrastructure redevelopment” in the US when our own infrastructure is in shambles? And why did MO1 shun the press if he has nothing to hide?
Ozzie Jo: This must be a first! Usually, when a head of state takes a delegation to a foreign country, especially one that is much better off than themselves, they come back with a bucket of goodies.
Najib has come back committing money that Malaysia doesn't have to help the US become great again.
What about Malaysia, Najib? Who is going to help us become great?
Gerard Lourdesamy: So two wrongs make it a right now? Is Najib implying that he (like former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad) also paid lobbyists to secure a meeting with US President Donald Trump?
If Najib and DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi were aware of this (that Mahathir paid millions to meet US president George Bush), then why did they not protest in the cabinet?
The conclusion is, in order for our great leaders to get an invitation to the White House, we have to pay, unlike the late Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore who was a frequent guest of US presidents and highly respected by them.
He never paid for his visits. That shows how Washington regards us.
Negarawan: It is denigrating enough that Malaysian PMs have to pay millions to agents to arrange for a meeting with the US president.
On the other hand, the US government spent millions to invite Lee Kuan Yew (LKY) to the US. When LKY spoke, everyone listened. LKY was invited to address a joint session of Congress in 1985, where his wise counsel to the US government received a standing ovation.
LKY was highly respected in the US and was always accorded the highest honour. It is laughable to see Malaysian leaders argue who among themselves is more welcomed in the US.
Clever Voter: By accusing Mahathir of paying lobbyists for a meeting with Bush, Najib was admitting he did the same, but better. Such childish response would have got a vote of support from his followers.
But surely, it wouldn't make sense to pay for the privilege of announcing one’s shopping list in the US. Surely, as big-time buyers or investors, we would expect Boeing to do the sales pitch to MAS. There is no necessity for a prime minister to do that.
While there are claims that the issue of Rohingya refugees was discussed, expect these to be lip service. Issues involving China were kept silent. The rest was a mixture of diplomacy and pleasantries.
The biggest item that matters is whether the US president has any influence over the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recent actions on 1MDB.
Dont Just Talk: However, Mahathir did not promise Bush that Malaysia would invest an additional US$3 to US$4 billion of our Employees Provident Fund (EPF) money to improve US infrastructure.
What is Malaysia's annual GDP as compared to that of the US? And you want to improve their infrastructure when our backyards in Sabah and Sarawak need new roads and proper drainage.
Keturunan Malaysia: This reminds me that not too long ago, I approached a young man and said, "You should stop gambling. It is no good. Believe me."
He replied, "But Uncle, you were a great gambler once..."
I replied, "Yes, I admit... that was before, but you are gambling now. That's why I know it is no good and I am telling you so."
He then said, "Well Uncle, why don't you let me find out for myself... like you did?"
I then said, "Young man, if you really insist on finding out for yourself, at least go and earn the money yourself to do that. Do not burden your pitiful parents with their hard-earned money."
Believe me. He is now a wage earner... and he has stopped gambling.
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