KUALA LUMPUR: The nervousness in the local market, following the surprising 14th General Election results, is temporary and will diminish once Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announces his cabinet’s line up, says a veteran banker.

Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers (AICB) Chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim expressed his confidence in the new prime minister, given his experience in steering the country during the 1997 Asian currency crisis.

“We have confidence in what he can achieve and I am sure that investors confidence will come back to the market quickly,” he told a press conference after AICB’s second Chartered Banker Conferment and 21st Graduation Ceremony here today.

He said Mahathir’s priorities were to sort out the country’s finances and look after the economy, which would be good for investors’ confidence.

On another note, Azman stressed the importance of professional education and the growing significance of AICB’s membership for bankers, given the profound changes taking place across the banking landscape today.

“As many of you are aware, the serious misconduct seen in the last financial crisis greatly undermined the reputation of the banking sector and highlighted the lapses in professionalism among bankers, which resulted in the loss of public confidence and trust.

“May I remind you today, that the very heart of banking is still trust. We are in the business where people put their money in banks because they trust us.

“Hence, our responsibility is to protect the integrity and stability of the banking system, which underpins public trust and confidence in the financial industry,” he said.

Azman said AICB membership had risen to over 17,000 to date from 12,000 at the end of last year. -— Bernama

EPF positive on Malaysia after smooth govt transition

KUALA LUMPUR: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) remains optimistic of the long-term outlook of the Malaysian economy and anticipates that any potential short-term market dips would provide opportunities for further investments into the domestic markets.

The country’s retirement fund said on Sunday its optimism on the economy followed the formation of the new government under Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad after Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the General Election 2018.

EPF CEO Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan emphasised that the EPF have been investing in the country for a very long time and believes the strong fundamentals of the Malaysian economy remain intact.

“Short term volatility is natural given this is the nation’s first experience of a power transition, but the smooth process seen so far will assure investors that Malaysia is a mature democracy and economy,” he said.

Shahril said the new government’s call for greater enhancements to local institutions’ corporate governance practices and independence, together with greater scrutiny by strong regulators, such as
Bank Negara Malaysia and the Securities Commission Malaysia, would bode well for the local business environment.

He also reaffirmed that the EPF would continue to invest in accordance with its existing principles and stated risk parameters.

He emphasised the EPF was focused on providing a return to its members of 2%  above the rate of inflation and its investment strategies will continue to focus on assets and companies that will meet this objective.

“We are further heartened that the manifesto of the new Government supports the EPF’s vision of providing a better future for our 13.7 million members.

“In particular, we welcome the focus on continuously improving the minimum wage framework and encouraging more voluntary savings, especially for housewives,” Shahril said. – ANN