Only trust Middle Eastern funds if they’re backed by good track record

ON Tuesday (March 30), Dubai-based Bin Zayed International (BZI) sparked new frenzy in Malaysia when the conglomerate “targeted to bring in RM100 bil worth of foreign direct investments (FDI) into Malaysia for the next few years.”

This is obviously a gargantuan sum of money which every developing economy would salivate to be a beneficiary especially given how the COVID-19 pandemic has created so much economic devastation the world over.

There is no mal intention whatsoever to undermine or to belittle the credibility of BZI but all the so-called beneficiaries must be mindful not to be blinded by the colour of money or let their guard down given in the name of ‘brotherhood’.

Remember the age-old adage “if something seems too good to be true, it probably is true”?

Here again, we are not insinuating that BZI is untrustworthy – probably we are simply overwhelmed beyond belief by the enormous sum of money that is potentially flowing into our country.

In all fairness, BZI is a conglomerate owned by His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan who is the senior member of the Abu Dhabi royal family as well as prominent business leader and philanthropist in the Gulf States with diverse business interests in the local and international markets, and which its business ventures include management of real estate and construction of residential and commercial buildings and towers.

In a formal letter to the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, BZI expressed its strong interest to invest in Malaysia via an exclusive collaboration with the Widad Business Group.

This will come in the form of an iconic joint venture to develop a project called Widad @ Langkasuka in Langkawi, Kedah.

“Starting with Widad @ Langkasuka, we believe that our involvement in projects here can bring in FDI of more than RM100 bil for the next few years,” exclaimed BZI’s group managing director Sheikh Midhat Kidwai.

“This strong cash flow influx can assist to provide a significant recovery boost for the Malaysian economy as well as the creation of more than 30,000 jobs.”

Nevertheless, it is still best not to throw caution to the wind.

Recall that amid the economic fragility of the 2008/2009 global financial crisis (GFC), many Middle Eastern investors and developers from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Kuwait had ‘pulled out abruptly’ from the initial phases of the Iskandar Malaysia development after having committed billions of ringgit in various projects.

Obviously, the pulling out act was due to hugely unfavourable economic conditions in their home countries, thus making it unbearable for the investors and developers to partake their expansion regardless of how good a bargain Iskandar Malaysia sounds.

Although we should let bygone be bygone, it is always wise not to throw caution to the wind. Or better still, once bitten, twice shy. – April 2, 2021

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