A South African tribute to Tun Dr. Mahathir’s legacy on bilaterral trade


South Africa: Moves to Revive Trade With Malaysia

Chris van Gass

MALAYSIAN Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah’s recent visit to SA has opened a window for rebuilding the trade base between the two countries.

Malaysia was among SA’s largest foreign investors post-1994, but the onset of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 saw a pullback and total trade now stands at just over $1,1bn.

Between 1994 and 1997 Malaysia was SA’s second-largest investor state, with incoming direct investment estimated at R6,8bn. It accounted for 17% of all foreign direct investment during the period.

Showcase investment projects included Telecom Malaysia‘s acquisition of a 30% stake in Telkom SA (valued at R2,2bn) and oil giant Petronas’s almost total takeover (97%) of Engen (valued at R1,9bn).

Martyn Davies, CEO of Emerging Market Franchise, says the financial fallout of the Asian crisis, and political differences, resulted in Malaysia disappearing off SA’s investor radar screen.

“lnvestment fatigue set in and relations went on the back burner. President Thabo Mbeki’s recent trip to Malaysia was intended to reenergise the bilateral relationship.”

Davies says Malaysia‘s investment in SA was largely politically driven and cemented by the good standing between Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and former president Nelson Mandela.

Malaysia‘s ruling UMNO party had been a long-standing supporter of the liberation struggle and a financial contributor to the African National Congress,” says Davies. “With both SA and Malaysia proponents of south-south co-operation, the political fit was expected to develop into a commercial bond.”

He says initial Malaysian investments in the South African banking sector were intended to establish a financial foundation upon which further investments could be built.

There are 32 Malaysian companies with interests in SA, with investments worth $400m in total.

Davies says investment interest has cooled off dramatically.

“This is for both commercial and political reasons. During the financial crisis, Malaysian companies divested heavily from SA. Renong sold its R200m invested in the Hilton Hotel in Durban for R80m. Capital flow to most Malaysian companies dried up; the priority of Malaysian firms was to repatriate funds to parent companies at the expense of international subsidiaries.”

Davies says after Mahathir’s retirement “a new impetus has be given to the bilateral relationship”. New premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is not well known in SA, and Mbeki’s visit to Kuala Lumpur served as a “get-to-know-you” session. New political initiatives between SA and Malaysia are to be expected .

“This will translate into commercial opportunities. South African companies have recognised the investment potential of Malaysia as a rapidly emerging market with strong resources and a growing consumer base.”

The largest South African investor in Malaysia is Sasol Polymer, which committed R1,2bn to the country in partnership with Petronas and Dow Chemicals in the local market. Other investments include a Plessey Telumat fibre-optic plant and a joint venture between civil engineering firm Africon Engineering and the politically connected Renong Group. Construction firms LTA Grinaker and Murray & Roberts have also been involved in a number of projects in Malaysia.

In the food franchise sector, South Africans visiting Malaysia often frequent one of Nando’s dozen restaurants in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia‘s main exports to South Africa are primary products. At a seminar on Malaysia-SA business opportunities, Ahmad Husni listed these as: electrical and electronic products ($152,1m); palm oil ($131,7m); chemicals and chemical products ($56,6m); transport equipment ($41,7m); and machinery, appliances and parts ($39,2m).

Major imports from SA are iron and steel products ($227,1m); metal manufacturing ($134,5m); metalliferous ores and metals ($20,8m); chemicals and chemical products ($18,5m); and machinery, appliances and parts ($7,6m).

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Ahmad Husni said he would like to see more South African investment in Malaysia, especially in the manufacturing sector, in areas including electrical and electronic products, transport equipment, machinery and equipment and agriculture and food processing.

However, Davies believes political forces have largely determined Malaysian investment into Africa.

“This model is likely to change under incoming Prime Minister Badawi. It presents new learning challenges in Malaysia‘s changing political structure and commercial opportunities for South African companies,” he says.

Published in: on September 5, 2007 at 13:29  Leave a Comment  

Tun Dr. Mahathir selamat jalani pembedahan koronari ditangani wira Melayu

Mantan Perdana Menteri dan Presiden UMNO Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, 82 tahun, selamat menjalani pembedahan pintasan koronari (coronary by-pass) diInstitut Jantung Negara (IJN) 3.00 ptg semalam. Semenjak keluar pembedahan, beliau dimasukan ke Unit Rawatan rapi (ICU) untuk pemerhatian teliti kerana proses 72 pasca pembedahan koronari, amatlah rumit dan kritikal, terutama pada umur lanjut itu dan ini merupakan pembedahan kedua selepas 24 Januari 1989. Beliau berada didalam keadaan stabil dan amat memuaskan hati para pakar yang merawatnya.

Ini adalah kenyataan rasmi mengenai keadaan Tun Dr. Mahathir setelah 24 jam pembedahan, dikeluarkan oleh Pegawai Khasnya, Sufi Yusoff pada jam 12.00 tengahari tadi:


Institut Jantung Negara, 5 September….

YABhg Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad remains stable following close overnight observation by doctors and nurses at the Intensive Care Unit of Institut Jantung Negara.

Doctors are happy with his rate of progress which is as expected in post-bypass surgery. All his vital parameters, thus far, are also stable as anticipated.

Tun Dr Mahathir is still however, within the crucial intensive observation period and will continue to be warded at the ICU.

IJN will continue to issue updates as and when there is significant change in Tun Dr Mahathir’s condition. Visitations continue to be confined to immediate family members only.



For media enquiries please contact Sufi Yusoff

Pekara yang amat menarik dari episod ini ialah kepercayaan penuh mantan Perdana Menteri ini kepada kebolehan dan kemampuan pakar pakar bedah koronari dan cardiothoracic, pakar bius koronari dan pakar kardiologi dikalangan orang orang Melayu untuk menjalani pembedahan amat rumit dan berisiko tinggi ini.

Semenjak pembedahan koronari pertamanya, 24 Januari 1989, beliau membuat keputusan serta merta apabila mengalami serangan jantung pertama dan memberi kepercayaan penuh kepada pakar pakar Melayu seperti Mr. Yahya Awang (pada masa itu pakar pembedahan cardiothoracic HKL) dan Mr. Rozali Wathooth (pada masa itu pakar pembedahan cardiothoracic SJMC) dan pakar kardiologi Dr. Nik Zainal dan Dr. Robaayah Zambahari untuk membuat pembedahan pintasan koronari yang pada masa itu masih lagi tidak begitu popular diMalaysia. Ramai rakyat Malaysia, termasuk pemimpin Negara menjalani pembedahan pintasan koronari ini diluar negara seperti Singapura, UK, Amerika Syarikat dan Australia.

Kejayaan yang diperolehi dari pembedahan ini memungkinkan sebuah pusat khas rawatan penyakit jantung dibina iaitu Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) yang dirasmikan Tun Dr. Mahathir sendiri pada tahun 12 Jun 1993.



Hari ini beliau masih lagi memberikan kepercayaan dan keyakinan penuh kepada pakar pakar Melayu yang sama dan lain lain lagi diIJN sekarang ini, seperti pakar pembedahan cardiothoracic Tan Sri Mr. Yahya Awang (mantan Ketua Pakar Pembedahan Cardiothoracic IJN dan kini diDamansara Specialist Hospital), Dato’ Dr. Rozali Wathooth (pakar pembedahan cardiothoracic Subang Jaya Medical Centre) Dato’ Mr. Azahari Yaakob (Ketua Pakar Pembedahan Cardiothoracic IJN) dan Dr. Mohd. Ezani Mohd. Taib, pakar bius cardiothoracic Dato’ Dr. Mohd. Hassan Mohd. Arif (Ketua Pakar Bius diIJN), Dr. Sharifah Suraya Syed Tahir, Dato’ Dr. Syed Abdul Aziz Syed Zain dan Dr. Nor Azlina Abd. Jalil dan pakar kardiologi lain seperti Dato’ Seri Dr. Robaayah Zambahari (Pengarah Perubatan IJN), pakar nephrologi Dato’ Dr. Zaki Morad Mohd. Zaher dan Dr. Ghazali Ahmad.

Walaupun pembedahan pintasan koronari ini dibantu oleh Prof. Dr. Hartzel Schaff Ketua Pakar Pembedahan Cardiothoracic Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, Amerika Syarikat, namun begitu pakar pakar pembedahan Melayu ini merupakan tunggak utama kejayaan pembedahan rumit dan luar biasa diMalaysia ini dan merekalah wira sejati, kerana kepakaran dan pengalaman mereka berjaya membuat pembedahan keatas seorang pesakit berumur lanjut 82 tahun, malah pembedahan pintasan koronari kedua.

Ini adalalah rekod baru dan menerpa sejarah, sebagai anak Melayu yang benar benar Cemerlang, Gemilang dan Terbilang, yang sering dilaung laungkan semenjak Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad bersara dari Perdana Menteri Malaysia pada 31 Oktober 2003. Tidaklah seperti orang yang melaung laungkan “Towering Malays” tetapi sendiri mendapat rawatan pembedahan sinus dan hernia diAustralia.

*Terkini, 5.15pm Rabu 5 Sept 2007 . Perdana Menteri Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi telah pergi ke IJN petang ini untuk menziarahi mantan Perdana Menteri Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad yang masih lagi diICU setelah menjalani pembedahan pintasan koronari bermula pagi semalam.



Published in: on September 5, 2007 at 12:35  Comments (2)