PETALING JAYA: The Finance Ministry has rejected a think tank’s speculation that Middle Eastern investors were losing confidence in Malaysia.
Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani said there was “no basis at all” for the claim by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas). He challenged anyone making such a suggestion to provide a specific example.
Ideas’ external relations manager, Azrul Khalib, told FMT that Arab investors’ withdrawal from multi-billion dollar projects in Malaysia signalled “an extremely worrying” shift in confidence.
His comment followed reports that Saudi Aramco had withdrawn from a US$27 billion (RM119 billion) refinery and petrochemical development joint venture with Petronas in Pengerang, Johor.
According to Johari, however, the project was never led by the Saudis in the first place. He said Petronas had been executing it on its own “since Day One”.
“The funding of this project until its completion has always been based solely on Petronas’ own strength. The possibility of having Aramco as a partner to share the project was only an option. Since Petronas could not agree to some of the terms, the two parties decided to stop the negotiations and move on.”
He said Aramco and Petronas could “always revisit the negotiations” if they could come to an agreement at a later stage.
“Sometimes, in a negotiation or venture, we don’t get the terms that we want, and this is normal,” he said.
“We need to make sure that foreign investors coming into our country will create win-win situations for us and them. Things cannot be one sided.” -FMT