Rahman Dahlan wants Guan Eng to step down as finance minister over Bursa’s performance

Azril Annuar
Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan has demanded that Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng be replaced in light of Bursa Malaysia’s poor performance. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 — An Umno Supreme Council member has demanded that Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng be replaced in light of Bursa Malaysia’s poor performance in comparison to other stock markets in the region.

In a statement today, Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan pointed out that starting from January this year up till last week, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (FBM KLCI) registered a drop of 7.4 per cent, down by more than 100 points to 1,571 points from 1,690 points.

“At the same time, while the stock exchange in other countries in the Asia Pacific region registered an increase, Malaysia stands at the lowest position with a huge deterioration.

“For example: China’s stock market has increased by 30 per cent, Taiwan by 14.2 per cent, Vietnam by 11.2 per cent, Thailand by 4 per cent and Indonesia only had a 0.6 per cent drop,” he said.

He also pointed out the fallacy in the finance minister’s claims that the local market is doing badly due to external factors such as the United States-China trade war and the uncertain global economic climate, when others in the region are doing well or is not as badly hit.

Abdul Rahman criticised the two budgets that the Pakatan Harapan had tabled saying that it had failed to attract investors and regain investor confidence.

Among the reasons he gave on why investors have fled Malaysia include: The “hasty” abolishment of the Goods and Services Tax, cancelling mega projects, and so-called lack of economic direction.

“Among other [reasons], is when the ruling party is busy politicking over the transition of the prime minister’s post, lack of trust among component parties and the government’s instability is also lowering investor confidence on the economic and financial state of our country,” he said.

At the same time, he added that the current Pakatan Harapan administration cannot lay this blame at the feet of Barisan Nasional because the stock market’s poor performance was triggered after the 14th general election.

Prior to the 14th General Election, the FBM KLCI closed at 1,870 points. By the end of 2018 it closed at 1,690 points — a drop of nearly 200 points or 9.6 per cent. This year saw another 100 points or 7.4 per cent drop.

Therefore, since the last general election, the FBM KLCI has dropped nearly 300 points or 16 per cent, from 1,870 down to 1,571.

He also touched on funds pointing out that Tabung Haji only gave a 1.25 per cent dividend, LTAT 2 per cent, ASB 6.5 per cent — the lowest in history and EPF dividends of 6.15 per cent.

“Nearly everyone from potential Haj pilgrims, the military, the Bumiputera Malays and EPF contributors are affected.

“So what is the solution? For the short term, I think PH should change the finance minister immediately. For the long term, Malaysians need to change their government,” said Abdul Rahman.

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