Sunday, September 21, 2008

Malaysia not a viable place to invest?

A Malaysian newspaper claims that the country's reputation as a sound place to invest has crumbled in recent months. That's calling the glass half empty. The political fortunes of the country's most magnificent leader in a generation, Anwar Ibrahim, have been on the rise.

The Malaysia Star laments:
It's been six months since the March 8 general election but the perception is that many Malaysians just do not know how to stop politicking, to the point that we are in danger of becoming a political basket case. . . .

The endless, if not mindless, politicking has dented our image abroad as Malaysia is no longer seen as a place for serious investment.
This kind of nay-saying coming out of Malaysia sounds a lot like what you read in the papers of Thailand -- Malaysia's neighbor to the north -- these days. Thais have also exhibited a tendency to see the glass as half empty. Nevertheless, in Thailand, an economically responsive, democratically elected government remains in power. Things are not nearly so bad as they could otherwise be.

In neither the case of Thailand nor Malaysia is the situation anywhere near as dire as some journalists made things out to be. With the economic crisis in the United States as yet unresolved, there are riskier places to invest than either Thailand or Malaysia.

I might add one other point. In Malaysia the mainstream media does not have an enviable record of having defended the values of democracy in the past. Recently, the Thai media has fared no better in this respect. Nevertheless, the underlying momentum in both countries is toward making politicians accountable for how they govern. This may not sit well with entrenched elites -- whether in the media or elsewhere -- but the indications that these nations are progressing are hard to miss if only you look for them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Because all comments on this blog are moderated, there will be some delay before your comment is approved.