Najib woos London fund managers

The Shard, London, the new home of Malaysia’s Khazanah Europe Investment Ltd. Source: Pexels

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been promoting his “growth story” to British fund managers and foreign direct investors.

Najib and Malaysia’s top corporate leaders are in London on a trade road show.

At the Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) chairman Lord Jonathan Marland, a former treasurer of the ruling Conservative Party, praised Malaysian investors for backing Britain in its time of need.

Trading within the Commonwealth was 19-per-cent cheaper as deals were underpinned by the rule of law and transparency, he said.

“Our activities are underpinned by the rule of law which I believe is strong in Malaysia and very strong here.

“It is up to us to create that framework and allow our two countries to trade within that transparency and within that rule of law, because then we feel confident and business will thrive,” Marland said.

The fund managers, who collectively manage funds valued at US$7.7 trillion (RM31 billion), were keen to hear Najib’s pledges to build capacity, raise productivity, boost small and medium enterprises and develop skills.

Najib said there had been around RM6.1 billion (US$1.5 billion) in net inflow of foreign funds in the first four months of 2016.

He told the fund managers he expected growth of 4.5 per cent during 2016, which was within the official forecast.

The embattled premier, no doubt glad to be away from the domestic scandals that have dominated his last year in office, said Kuala Lumpur would continue to cut spending, maintain fiscal discipline and keep the deficit target on track.

Later in the day he referred to the “over politicising” of domestic issues. “Politics is always lively in our country but if issues are overly politicised, as they have been, the reality of Malaysia’s continuing success story can be harder to see.”

He was also due to meet the chief executives of Standard Chartered and the Shell group before a dinner hosted by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Jeffrey Richard de Corban Evans.

Najib viewed a picture of his late father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, when he was attending a Commonwealth heads of government meeting in London more than 50 years ago while he was acting prime minister.

He will launch the Khazanah Europe Investment Ltd (KEIL) regional office at London’s iconic Shard, the tallest building in the European Union, with the signing of an official plaque.

Najib is due to travel to Sochi in southern Russia, today (Wednesday) for a two-day Russia-Asean commemorative summit.