KUALA LUMPUR — May 14, 2019: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has brushed off a Bloomberg report concerning Malaysia’s gloomy economic scenario as fake news.
At a press conference in Putrajaya today, Dr Mahathir denied that foreign investors have lost patience with the government and were bypassing the country in favor of other markets as claimed in the report.
“Actually, our performance is very good. Investors are coming in, do not spread fake news. The media needs to report the truth, not fake news.
“The country is a good place to invest but the experts are making it sound like we’re at war,” said Mahathir when asked to comment on Bloomberg’s yesterday report.
Earlier at another conference in Alor Setar, International Trade and Industry Minister, Datuk Darell Leiking, had echoed a similar claim.
In the Bloomberg report, it was stated that hopes for reform as promised by the Dr Mahathir’s administration have given way to caution after a government drive to cut public debt weighed on consumption and growth.
Bank Negara’s May 7 benchmark interest rate cut, which was the first time since July 2016, was mentioned in the report as a sign of how the Malaysian economy was not doing fine.
“Malaysia’s benchmark stock index has fallen more than 5 per cent this year and is the world’s worst-performing major equity market.
“Slowing economic growth and weak company earnings have taken a toll, though valuations have improved,” read the report.
Corporate profits, it reported, were hurt after the government scrapped several large infrastructure projects to rein in a fiscal deficit which ballooned to a five-year high in 2018.
“Ringgit bonds came under pressure last month, when FTSE Russell said it may drop Malaysia from its World Government Bond Index due to concerns about market accessibility.
“The move renewed the spotlight on a ban on offshore ringgit trading, and 10-year yields jumped to a two-month high. Morgan Stanley warned almost $8 billion may exit the local debt market.”