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EPF Continues To Invest Locally, Helps Boost Economy

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SINGAPORE: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) will continue investing internally this year in efforts to support Malaysia’s economy.

“We are constantly investing throughout our time. We are looking at the right assets to invest in,” its Chief Executive Officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan told Bernama here.

Shahril said that the same strategies would be implemented by bringing in foreign partners to invest in the country.

“This is part of the role that we do to bring in relationship that we have overseas,” he said.

In recent months, Shahril said the pension fund has been encouraging its global partners to invest jointly in Malaysia.

That includes its recent venture in a logistics hub with the Goodman Group of Australia, and separately, with several global pension funds.

Asked on the expected allocation for domestic investment this year, Shahril said that it would vary from time to time.

“It depends on the availability of the right asset. We do not set hard target in that sense,” he said.

Investment from local companies is crucial to spur the domestic economy in the light of weaker global economic condition.

Therefore, in September last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had announced broad measures to strengthen the local economy.

It includes encouraging government-linked companies (GLCs), government-linked investment companies (GLICs), and private firms to repatriate their profits to invest in high-multiplier local projects.

Najib said since recovering from the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis, private companies and GLICs abroad have expanded and increased their investments, which exceeded the amount of direct investments in the country.

As of June 2015, Malaysia was a net exporter of capital.

Investments made by GLICs overseas stood at RM522 billion against foreign direct investment which amounted to RM477 billion.

Shahril was met at the Topping Up ceremony of the RM9.7 billion -Tanjong Pagar Centre by GuocoLand Group which was held here.

EPF holds a 20 per cent stake in that project.

Asked on EPF’s investment in Singapore, Shahril noted that the fund had no plans to divest its stake in the Tanjong Pagar Centre development project.

Meanwhile, GuocoLand (Singapore) Pte Ltd’s Managing Director Cheng Hsing Yao described the EPF as a profesional long-term partner.

GuocoLand had in 2011 tied up with the Malaysian pension fund to develop the project, which is set to become the republic’s tallest building.

It had sold a 20 per cent stake, estimated to be worth RM1.95 billion, to the EPF for the 1.7 million-sq ft mixed-use development above the Tanjong Pagar MRT station.

GuocoLand acquired the 99-year leasehold site for about RM5.21 billion.

The 290-metre tall Tanjong Pagar Centre is on schedule for completion by mid-2016.

— BERNAMA

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