An urgent motion by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to debate the decreasing in-flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Dewan Rakyat today was rejected by Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee as it was not an urgent matter.
Anwar moved the motion under Article 18(1) of the Standing Orders because he said Malaysia has suffered a negative net-flow of RM9 billion with RM38 billion outflow in FDI as reported in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) World Investment Report 2008.
Kiandee said the matter had been explained by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak during the winding-up at committee stage. He also said several MPs like Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak), Dr Dzulkelfy Ahmad (PAS-Kuala Selangor), Nasharudin Md Isa (PAS-Bachok) and Anwar himself had brought it up in their questions and debates.
“So, the issue has already been taken up and tackled by the ministry,” he said.
At a press conference at the parliament lobby later, Anwar said although the report had mentioned an increase in the in-flow of the FDI from RM21 billion in 2006 to RM29 billion last year, a massive outflow of FDI has been occurring since 2005 and it will cause contraction in the economy, a decrease in gross domestic production and an increase in the unemployment rate.
“The Asean region had an increase of 81.9% in the in-flow of the FDI from RM116 billion in 2006 to RM209 billion in 2007 and Malaysia recorded the lowest in-flow with only 13%," he said.
“If the minister only told us that this was because of the global financial crisis, why did the country perform worse than the other (Asean) countries?
“I do not deny the effect of the global financial crisis but I would like to know why Malaysia is doing worse than other Asean countries in FDI?
“If such a phenomenon is not tackled immediately, the country will be left behind in the economic and development race by its neighbouring countries."
Anwar said it was not just a financial crisis but a crisis of confidence to Malaysia because the reports by the World Bank, UBS (an international financial firm) and International Institute of Finance had pointed out that the obstruction of in-flow of FDI into the country was because of its economic policies, including:
a. high requirements and strict regulations, especially in the service sectors;
b. the “mismatch” of training in the vocational schools and universities with the requirements of the industry;
c. high management cost, such as commissions, "which are always linked to corruption”; and
d. lack of transparency in awarding contracts and confidence in the judiciary.
Anwar also said that since the government was reluctant to engage the Opposition for such debate, a bipartisan roundtable meeting or a discussion initiated by the minister should be held to address the issue.
“We have made it quite clear that we are here to engage and assist,” he added.
The current trend of our Dewan Rakyat.......any motion that originates from the opposition will be turned down, no matter how urgent, specific and of public interest. Sometime I wonder whether the speaker has the balls to allow such debates..............