Thursday, November 23, 2006

Koh Certain Investors' Confidence Will Return. But How Confident Is Koh Himself?

It's all well and good for the Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon to give the thumbs-up and make a generally semuanya ok declaration. Let us read a bit on his optimism first.......

Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon is certain that investors' confidence in the state would return following the steps taken to beef up security at ports and airports.

He said quick action in damage control and explanation on the microchips heist at the Batu Maung air cargo complex on Monday had reassured investors that the security situation in the state was under control.

He added that although security was important, the main criteria which drew investors were the state's competitive edge, the capability of the workforce and the market situation in Southeast Asia.

****** Frankly I don't think there would be many who share Koh's enthusiasm or his positive spin on events. While it is true that the cops were excellent in their response to the challenge posed by the robbers, it does not necessarily mean that security is any better after the heist. All it reflects is that our police can be depended upon to very quickly bring to book perpetrators of crime if they put their mind to it. Period.

Koh also subtly attempts to downplay security concerns when he asserts and focuses on the so-called main criteria for investors, such as competitive edge etc etc although 'security was important.' In my mind investor confidence at the moment is at it's lowest ebb. While Koh is quite right in pointing to certain criteria as above, he has tactfully omitted the crucial few which matter a lot to any genuine big investor. The most important is the present leadership's tendency to vacillate on serious domestic issues, ranging from the handling of Islamic resurgence to the universal and uniform applicability of civil rights, raising doubts on whether they can be depended upon to keep their word and the peace. That and security are the crux of any decision taken by hard-nosed investors. The other criteria cited by Koh can be found in scores of other countries and indeed they probably offer better than what we can. Add to that the damper, damaging news like this, puts on investor confidence.

So instead of continuing to chant pleasant-to-hear fictional mantras in order to please his political Tuans, Koh should forcefully voice out the grievances that the public and possibly investors too have against the way government is managed and run today. Does he have the stomach and the 'other' organ for it? I don't think so. Therefore investor confidence will continue to be at this middling level while countries such as Vietnam continue to deflect good investments away from us. Where will it all end? I wish I knew.

Recommended read: Malaysia slips behind rivals in economic race

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Singapore & Penang has some similarity:- both are island states; majority are Chinese, hence the government - chief minister, town councill etc are majority Chinese. In fact, in many ways, it is supposed to be controlled by the Chinese majority there except that they have to answer to their BN Tuans.

The vast difference between S'pore & Penang is the government efficiency, competitiveness and their culture. That's how S'pore is so much more advanced than Penang.

Both are majority Chinese but when we have an out-dated, corrupted, arrogant, racist & inefficient political parties (ie all BN component parties) controlling our nation, that's what we get.

It's time to boot them out in next GE so that our nation could progress & draw more investors like S'pore. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

8:50 AM GMT+8  

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