Saturday, June 30, 2007

Is it mere attitude problem?

Read this article in the Star today, which I don't think it is merely the attitude problem. Well, the truth speaks louder than your explanation...

Rafidah: It’s an attitude problem

KUALA LUMPUR: The European Union’s envoy to Malaysia Thierry Rommel “has an attitude problem”, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz.

She also disputed Rommel's statement that Malaysia was losing its attractiveness to foreign investors, saying that of the RM25.5bil in investments in the manufacturing sector between January and May this year, half of it was in foreign investments.

“He has always had this problem with his attitude,” she said at the launch of Malaysia International Trade and Industry Report 2006 yesterday.

Rafidah said having known Rommel personally, she was not surprised with his disparaging remarks about the country’s policies, especially the New Economic Policy (NEP).

Expressive: Rafidah gesticulating as she delivers a speech at the launch of the report in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
She said she had questioned him regarding his comments in a magazine article that Malaysia’s attractiveness to foreign investors had weakened because of the education and economic policies favouring bumiputras at the expense of other groups.

“It was very disparaging remarks he made. He said there were companies facing problems, but he did not want to tell me what the problems were. How on earth is the Government supposed to know if he does not want to tell?”

Rafidah also described Rommel's remarks as “totally unwarranted and rubbish”.

“We are open to criticism but to make disparaging remarks is bad.

“To harp on the NEP is even worse. The NEP is no longer an issue with foreign investors because they have factored it in.”

In manufacturing, 100% foreign equity has been made available since 1997, she added.

“Rommel is obviously out of date and doesn’t know Malaysia or he has not bothered to find out.”

On June 21, Rommel said the affirmative action policy was detrimental to Malaysia and could hinder a free-trade agreement because of its protectionism.

He was subsequently summoned to Wisma Putra to explain his remarks.

In his 45-minute meeting with Foreign Ministry deputy secretary-general (I) Datuk Osman Hashim on Monday, Rommel explained that he had no intention to meddle in Malaysia’s domestic affairs and that the issue had been blown out of proportion.

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