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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Tycoon: Take advantage of money from mainland China

KUALA LUMPUR - A leading fund manager in Asia has encouraged Malaysia, which is undertaking reforms to improve its status in the current financial scenario, to take advantage of money pouring out from China.

In an interview published by The Star Online today, Cheah Cheng Hye, chairman and co-chief investment officer of Hong Kong-based Value Partners Group, also said the Malaysian education should be reformed, with the Chinese language given more prominence.

“I think in the next 10 to 20 years, it will be very important to reform the Malaysian education system,” he was quoted as saying. “Put much more emphasis on the Chinese language, maybe on an equal bearing with English language.”

“I don’t think the government will have any objection to that. Our young people should be just as comfortable speaking the Chinese language as they are with the English language.”

Stressing that China and India were today responsible for more than half of the growth of the global economy, Penang-born Cheah noted that the ringgit had declined by more than 25% over the last three years.

Describing the Chinese as the biggest savers in the world, he said the gradual liberalisation of the Chinese economy meant their savings would be channelled elsewhere.

“There is a chance that some of that money is going to come over and they will need someone to manage it,” he said in the interview.

“To be precise, they have a savings rate of 46%, all of which is looking for a home to invest in,” he added.

“The Chinese have the money and they want to diversify. That is why you see housing bubbles happening in China.”

Cheah, who left Penang in 1974, after quitting his job as acting chief sub-editor with The Star, predicted that Malaysia can probably grow 4.5% this year.

Cheah was conferred the Darjah Gemilang Pangkuan Negeri (DGPN) award by Penang in August 2016. He is also the deputy chairman and founding member of the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (Hong Kong and Macau).

He said Malaysia giving Alibaba Group chairman Jack Ma an opportunity was very positive for the country, as the billionaire internet shopping leader had “completely transformed” China.

He stressed that not only has Ma provided massive employment in China, but he also changed the way people think in terms of buying and selling things.

“I think Ma will affect Malaysia in making it more efficient, especially in terms of retailing,” he said in the interview. “It may squeeze out some of the intermediaries. It may force Malaysians to think in a more technological way.”

Cheah said the global system since World War 2 where the US provided stability to the world was coming to an end.

“Eastern and Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia must find their own way,” he said.
He also told The Star that Malaysia had one of the best talent pools.

“We have a long history of hiring Malaysians. The brains here are available at a very reasonable price and they are reasonably hungry,” he said.

He said one of the reasons for this was that Malaysian talents tended to have a good college education.

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