KUALA LUMPUR – Reports claiming that international firms are troubled by Malaysia’s efforts to prop up the ringgit are baseless, according to InvestKL chief executive Datuk Zainal Amanshah says.

The head of the agency responsible for enticing foreign investment into the country said InvestKL did not encounter such sentiments despite Bank Negara Malaysia requiring firms based here to convert 75 per cent of their foreign earnings to the local currency as well as curbing speculation of the ringgit.

“Every time a change or new policy is made by BNM, you will see such comments coming up again and again but so far we have not seen that through our in-depth dialogue sessions with the investors.

“For someone to put a blanket statement that because of this everyone wants to pull out [from the country] is inaccurate,” he told Malay Mail Online.

Zainal was commenting on a recent commentary in The Star, which claimed that the move by BNM was expected to cause specific sectors, namely US-based technological companies and other resource-based industries, to return to the US.

Rather than discouraging investment, Zainal said InvestKL has instead received feedback from firms that said they were relieved that BNM was only taking steps to discourage speculation of the ringgit rather than reintroducing a currency peg.

“There is negative feedback (of course), but the majority of them are happy and work is still in progress for those who perceive the move as bad,” he said.

In December, Bank Negara announced measures to limit the decline of the ringgit’s value, which fell last month to its lowest since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

These include requiring locally-based firms to convert their earnings in foreign currencies to the ringgit, in an effort to increase demand for the Malaysian currency, and limiting futures trading.

The ringgit closed yesterday at 4.4340/4380 against the US dollar.

– Malay Mail