Efforts to strengthen and foster Malaysia's bilateral relationships with other countries should be commended and not condemned, said Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin. (File pix)

KUALA LUMPUR: Efforts to strengthen and foster Malaysia's bilateral relationships with other countries should be commended and not condemned, said Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said the statement made by Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali that Malaysia should not be "sending away" money abroad showed an "utterly limited comprehension of our country's investment flows".

As an open economy, Khairy said Malaysia both received and made investments with foreign countries.

"Last year alone, we received RM47.2 billion worth of net foreign direct investments (FDI), an increase of 20 per cent from 2015.

"For the first half of 2017, Malaysia has received RM25.3 billion net FDI into various sectors mainly services, manufacturing, and mining," he said in a statement today.

The Youth and Sports Minister said the country had also been investing abroad yearly in both direct and portfolio investments.

He said as of the second quarter of 2017, Malaysia's international investment position stood at RM1.7 trillion, which meant that Malaysian companies had invested, owned and reaped the returns from RM1.7 trillion worth of assets abroad.

"The EPF (Employees Provident Fund) has invested close to US$7 billion into the United States equity market. With the additional investments of US$3 to 4 billion committed, EPF stands to gain from US markets' outstanding performance."

Khairy added that 20 per cent of EPF's RM711 billion of assets under its management were in foreign countries, proving how diversified its investments were.

He stressed that investments in the US or any other large economy were for the benefit of Malaysia and its people.

"The Barisan Nasional government has long proven that it can rise beyond petty politicking to serve Malaysians with stable economic policies and long-standing diplomatic relationships for a prosperous today and tomorrow.

"It is high time that the opposition grows up beyond petty politicking to serve Malaysians with intellect and ideas, not sound bites and fear."

Azmin, in a series of tweets, had said yesterday said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's move to invest up to US$ 24 billion to help strengthen US economy was an "overpriced photo-op".

Azmin, who is PKR deputy president, also said he was "utterly shocked" by this move adding that the country's leaders should be bringing back investment to Malaysia, instead of "sending money away".

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