1MDB declined Invest Malaysia invitation

24 Apr 2015 / 05:41 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR: 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), whose fortunes have been partly blamed for contributing to the fall in the ringgit and negative investor sentiment, declined to participate in Invest Malaysia 2015 this year.
    The 11th Invest Malaysia institutional investor conference, which opened yesterday, is organised by Bursa Malaysia Bhd in collaboration with CIMB Investment Bank Bhd. The annual event looks every year to showcase Malaysia's most investable companies. This year, 51 companies were represented.
    CIMB Group Holdings Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak said it invited 1MDB but the state-owned investment firm turned down the invitation.
    "I don't know (the reason). They declined to participate and I'm disappointed. They would have been an important element of Invest Malaysia given the backchat on the (controversial) topics," Nazir told reporters at the sidelines of Invest Malaysia here yesterday.
    He did not think that it's helpful that 1MDB was not there, but mentioned that there could be other forums for 1MDB to present their case.
    "I subscribe to what (Bank Negara Malaysia) Governor Zeti (Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz) said. 1MDB is not a systemic issue. On that score, the show goes on. There are many issues and companies to be displayed for investors."
    Nazir said there are a lot of negative news that affect the valuation of the ringgit as well as investors sentiment, adding that it is important for all Malaysian companies to engage with investors and share the investment fundamentals of Malaysia.
    "It's also equally important to put the elephant in the room (1MDB) behind us. This whole 1MDB issue, the earlier it is cleared up, the better is it for everyone. When issues are not cleared up, people tend to expect the worse."
    He said concerns about fiscal deficit, current account, corporate governance and transparency were brought up by investors during its sukuk roadshows.
    "A lot of that is derived from the negative news around 1MDB. It is one isolated case unfortunately and it is a bit of an eyesore and the earlier we solve it, the better."
    Interestingly 1MDB's sole shareholder the Finance Ministry has said it will press on with plans to list the group's energy unit.
    When asked on how the issue of 1MDB can be solved, Nazir said: "I have no view on how to resolve it. I would hope that we put it (1MDB) behind us."
    Nazir opined that the ringgit is undervalued and it is partly because of excessive negative sentiment towards the country.
    Meanwhile, he said the current interest rate is accommodative and is at a good level for the banking industry to grow loans at a decent rate. However, lifting the interest rate would be painful for consumers.
    CIMB has also applied for a banking license in Vietnam and is hopeful of obtaining it by this year.
    "We may look to make an application to the Philippines for a license given that they have new rules on foreign licenses," said Nazir, adding that these will be organic ventures.


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