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PM: No Need For Early Polls

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BERLIN: There are no plans to call for the next general election before the 2018 deadline, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He added that any decision to call for elections should not be based on “any single factor”.

“We rest on our record. We have a strong record and we will continue to tell the people that our Govern­ment is still the best choice,” he told reporters here after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to a Reuters report.

The last general election was held on May 5, 2013.

NGO Bersih 2.0 is planning another protest rally on Nov 19 to call for Najib’s immediate resignation and an independent investigation into the controversy surrounding 1Malaysia Develop­ment Bhd (1MDB).

On the controversy, Najib said the country would cooperate with US and other international authorities in the investigations.

“We are equally concerned about good governance in Malaysia and the rule of law,” Najib when asked about the international investigations.

“So, within the bounds of good governance and the rule of law, Malaysia will do its best to cooperate and to do whatever is necessary.”

The Prime Minister has weathered persistent calls for him to step down over his handling of the controversy, which is also being investigated by at least five other countries.

Meeting German business lea­ders at a dialogue session in Germany’s capital earlier, Najib said Malaysia is now keen to also attract the country’s mid-sized manufacturers after having established strong ties with Germany’s multinational companies.

Studies show that no other country has as many mid-sized global market leaders as Germany, which has a population of about 80.6 million and is the world’s fourth largest economy.

Malaysia’s small-and-medium enter­prises can therefore learn much from German mid-sized companies, especially in terms of their entrepreneurial spirit, competitive strategies, and adaptation and innovation in advanced technology, Najib said.

Accounting for a substantial number of companies and known collectively as “Mittelstand”, they are the backbone of the economy, supplementing the bigger well-established industrial and manufacturing giants.

“We look forward to more investments from Germany, particularly in new growth areas, in emerging technologies, and in capital-intensive, high value-added, know­ledge-based, skill-intensive and export-oriented industries,” he told

Companies taking part in the dialogue included Atotech, AWS Schafer, BMW, Daimler, Osram, Volkswagen, Infineon, Bombardier Transportation, Ensinger, B. Braun, Green Sugar and Biesterfeld International.

Germany is Malaysia’s largest investor from the European Union with a total of 552 manufacturing projects to date, and these investments, which total US$11.4bil (about RM39.6bil), have created more than 63,500 new jobs.

Notable German firms which have already had a strong presence for decades include Volkswagen, BMW, BASF, Osram, Mercedes, Audi, Deutsche Bank, Siemens AG, Bosch and Infineon.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, is on a three-day official visit to Germany on the invitation of its Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Also present were International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, Asia Pacific Committee of German Business representative and B. Braun Melsungen AG supervisory board chairman Prof Datuk Seri Dr Ludwig Georg Braun, Malaysian Ambassador to Germany Datuk Zulkifli Adnan and Malaysian Investment Develop­ment Authority chief executive Officer Datuk Azman Mahmud.

Besides investing in Malaysia, Najib told the business leaders that they could use the country’s strategic location to tap into the Asean market, which is poised to become the world’s fourth largest economy by 2050 at the latest.

“We are committed to ensuring that the needs of investors who wish to do business in Malaysia are met,” he said.

In further fostering Malaysia-Germany relations, the Prime Minister expressed Malaysia’s strongest interest in hosting the 16th Asia Pacific Conference of German Business in Kuala Lumpur in 2018.

On the Malaysia-EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations, Najib said he was sure of Germany’s continued support for the relaunch of the talks. — Agencies

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