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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dr M: Only slight impact from US shutdown


SHRINKING TRADE: It is no longer a major trading partner for Malaysia, says former PM

MALAYSIA will be slightly impacted by the United States shutdown, but it won't be so significant as the superpower is no longer a major trading partner for the country.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the US used to account for 20 per cent of Malaysia's total trade but the pie has now shrunk and Malaysia's total trade has diversified over the past 20 years.

"Well, yes, Malaysia might be slightly affected but it won't be that bad as we now have trading partners all over the world," Dr Mahathir said here yesterday after giving a talk on the second wave of the Look East Policy to some 300 Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

The US government began a shutdown after a stalemate in Congress.

On China's emergence as a world economy, Dr Mahathir said Bumiputera entrepreneurs should not be deterred because history has shown that with perseverance, dedication and hard work, any race can make it to the global economic arena.

"Malaysians can do it if they put their hearts into it and have values and discipline like the Japanese. The country emerged stronger after its defeat in World War 2."

He said a few Malaysian companies had become global suppliers, such as Silterra, which supplies microchips to Samsung to make handphones.

Dr Mahathir said 22 years after the introduction of the Look East Policy, the attitude of the Bumiputera entrepreneurs has not changed much but that does not mean they should abandon the policy altogether.

"We cannot look at the West because after eight years, the economies of countries such as Greece, Spain, France and the Netherlands are in trouble.

"The West went into the production of goods but they were unable to compete with the East. This prompted them to go into the financial sector because you don't need transportation, workers and goods.

"Now, their financial sectors are in trouble as a result of their greed and low values, such as making money by pushing down the value of currencies," he said.

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