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September 29, 2009

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Home » Business » Economy

Malaysia tries to lure more foreign cash

MALAYSIA will further liberalize its services sectors to attract foreign investors and speed up economic recovery after a recession this year, a Cabinet minister said yesterday.

Trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed said the government is undertaking a comprehensive study to cut the cost of doing business and make the economy more competitive.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has relaxed a host of restrictions on foreign investment in the financial services sector as part of his first major policy reforms after taking power in early April.

"We are looking at all sectors. We've started this process and a review is ongoing. The services sector will be our priority as it will be the driver of our economic transformation," he said.

He declined to give details. Najib has relaxed a decades-old affirmative action program for ethnic Malays, including scrapping a requirement for 30 percent Malay ownership in several sectors such as health and transport.

Analysts, however, said the moves touch only a few of the benefits given to Malays, who make up nearly 60 percent of the country's 28 million people. Strategic industries such as telecommunications, water, ports and energy remain heavily regulated.

Mustapa said his ministry has proposed new measures to make Malaysia more pro-business in the 2010 national budget to be unveiled on October 23.


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