June 30, 2009 14:13 PM
Deregulation Of Investment Guidelines A Fair Policy For All, Says PM
KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 (Bernama) -- The comprehensive deregulation of investment guidelines announced today is a fair policy for all, including foreign investors, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
"It is a fair new policy guideline, which is designed to be a win-win situation for global investors and at the same time address the need for new effective instrument for Bumiputera participation," he said.
Hence, there would not be a "political backlash", said Najib, who is also finance minister, when asked if the new guidelines would have a political backlash at a press conference at Invest Malaysia 2009 here today.
"No one must feel marginalised, no ethnic group is marginalised and no ethnic group is disincentified. It is a tricky balancing act but doable," he said.
Among others, he announced that with immediate effect, the Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) guidelines covering the acquisition of equity stakes, mergers and takeovers would be repealed without any new guideline in place.
"The FIC will no longer process any share transactions nor impose equity conditions on them," he said.
Currently, he said, companies seeking listings were required to satisfy the public shareholding spread requirement of 25 percent based on Bursa Malaysia's listing rules and also the Bumiputera equity condition based on FIC guidelines.
Going forward, he said, the public spread requirement would remain and in addition, the Securities Commission would introduce a new guideline which would require companies seeking listing to offer 50 percent of the 25 percent public shareholding spread to Bumiputera investors.
"The Bumiputera equity condition therefore becomes subsumed within the public spread requirement.
"One of the pains of the FIC and the old model is that some people feel disincentivise in this country and it has been a complaint in the past by foreign investors. And now I hope they will talk about we being more friendly. Insya Allah," he said.
Asked if the new measures would eliminate the Ali Babas, he said: "I don't think you can eliminate sleeping partners overnight ... I mean in businesses. But, I think it will reduce very substantially.
"At least, we are helping those who are helping themselves," he said. Najib said in the past, Bumiputeras got the shares and straight away they would sell them.
"At the end of the day the sell-down is enormous. We did our research. Very little shares are still left. So, the old model is not sustainable," he said.
Of the RM54 billion in shares allocated, only RM2 billion worth of shares were left in the hands of Bumiputeras, he said.
He said the total Bumiputera equity was only 19.4 percent, far from the targeted 30 percent 19 years ago.