The Price of Brexit–An Economic Slump

July 20, 2016

The Price of Brexit–An Economic Slump

by The Editorial Board

It was always clear that Britain’s divorce from the European Union would be painful and costly. Nearly a month after the country’s ill-advised referendum on union membership, it is becoming clear just how bad it will be.

The British economy will slow noticeably this year and in 2017, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission, the union’s executive arm, said in separate reports released on Tuesday. The IMF now expects 1.7 percent growth for 2016, down from its April forecast of 1.9 percent. It predicted a drop to 1.3 percent for 2017, almost a full point below its earlier forecast of 2.2 percent. The chief economist of the fund, Maurice Obstfeld, said that growth could be much lower if negotiations between Britain and its European partners drag on or become contentious.

The European Commission is even more pessimistic. It says Britain’s economy could shrink 0.3 percent next year under its “severe” scenario. Both bodies also warned that the uncertainty caused by Brexit will slow growth in the rest of Europe. The IMF lowered its forecasts modestly for global growth in 2016 and 2017.

British and European leaders need to take these forecasts seriously as they negotiate how to remove Britain from the union and structure a new economic relationship. Britain trades extensively with the E.U., and London is the biggest financial hub in the union. Economists say a disruptive breakup would be bad for everybody, leading to job losses and a spike in the prices in Britain of basic necessities like food that it imports from Europe. The pound has already fallen about 11 percent against the dollar and 9 percent against the euro since the referendum, raising prices in Britain for imports of goods and services.

It is clear that British politicians, especially those who campaigned the loudest for Brexit, did not prepare for this eventuality. Now, it is up to Prime Minister Theresa May, who took office just last week, and her new team to come up with a strategy to minimize the economic damage. Perhaps the best outcome Britain could hope for is an arrangement similar to the one Norway has with the E.U. It is not a member of the union but has access to the European common market and agrees to abide by its regulations and to allow free movement of Europeans across its borders.

So far, Ms. May appears to be wisely ignoring calls by some anti-E.U. politicians to quickly start the formal process of leaving the union by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. British officials recently said they would not invoke the article this year.

But a long delay would carry risks, too, by increasing uncertainty, which would depress business investment and consumer spending. What is clear is that Britain now finds itself in a no-win position.


The Hopeful Alternative: A “Brivot” to Asia may now be in order for Britain

July 10, 2016

The Hopeful Alternative: A “Brivot” to Asia may now be in order for Britain

by Bunn Nagara

Instead of being the end of the good old EU days, Brexit may just be the beginning of Britain’s new productive relations in Asia.

FROM the start, arguments over Brexit had been skewed on several fronts. Mainstream international media tends to be negative about Britain’s exit from the EU. The ills of withdrawal are often seen to overshadow the benefits.

Since a majority of Britons voted for Brexit for distinct reasons, why do media reports fail to portray its benefits – whether substantive or perceived – at least half the time? This may be due to corporate media interests, since EU regional integration favours them over those of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) disproportionately saddled with the costs of EU regulations.

 There is also the secondary causality factor, or “opprobrium by association”. For example, Donald Trump – seen as inhospitable to migrants from minority communities – mistakenly endorses Brexit for shutting out immigrants, so those who consider themselves more liberal on immigration policy reject Brexit for being “xenophobic”.

EU membership in fact discriminates in favour of mainly white European migrants and job-seekers, against those from other continents and even Commonwealth countries.

What’s Up, Mr.Churchill

Disentangling itself from the EU allows Britain to form new associations and develop old ones with other countries independently. Prime Minister David Cameron and former Defence Minister Dr Liam Fox mentioned the Commonwealth countries as being among them.

Third, the media disinclination to Brexit may also be caused by the lack of quantifiable benefits, real or anticipated, readily shaped into prime time sound bites. It is much easier to cite the trade volumes Britain may lose in Europe than the greater democratic prerogatives that Britons would enjoy.

Yet even this does not explain the common bias against Brexit. The anticipated or presumed losses, however detailed in numbers, are no more than projections and extrapolations since Britain has yet to leave.

Since both the costs and benefits of Brexit are equally notional or hypothetical, they should be entitled to equal time. But pro-Brexit hopes, aspirations and promise are not entertained anywhere as much as anti-Brexit doom, gloom and warnings.

Even champions of Brexit have been distracted from their primary task in having to defend their position against critics. They might have argued that Britain’s best years were before joining the European project, while many an EU country has seen its worst years after joining it.

The reasons for the rise and fall of European powers are complex and need not directly implicate the EU. But the fact that for decades “Europe” has failed to arrest and reverse the decline of once-mighty colonial powers seems to testify to the EU’s limits.

For now the bigger questions are: must Brexit mean assured decline for Britain, and are there no silver linings at all? EU ideology aside, Brexit can have tangible benefits and some are already emerging.

On July 7, the Wall Street Journal reported that the plunge in interest rates caused by Brexit has produced a spike in US mortgage refinancing. Mortgage rates have fallen along with long-term rates. An index of refinancing activity for the week ending July 1 rose 21%, the highest in 18 months.

On the same day, Associated Press reported that European stock markets rallied in anticipation of the US Federal Reserve holding off on raising interest rates. The lower rates may hold until next year.

Politically, British-US relations are likely to improve as well without a European “filter”. Their “special relationship” is unfazed by Brexit and may grow in the absence of continental encumbrances.

British Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sajid Javid is already on a five-nation tour to discuss new and improved trading arrangements.

His first destination was India, which has huge investments in Britain. India’s growth is no less than China’s at some 7%, at a time when all other emerging economies are slowing.

India is already the third-biggest foreign investor (fdi) in Britain, and may soon tie with France for second place. Over the last decade the number of British companies operating in India grew 300%. Today, more than 800 Indian companies in Britain employ well over 110,000 people, while British companies in India employ about 691,000 people. All of this is set to grow on both sides.

Other Commonwealth countries in South Asia are Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Although many Commonwealth members are small with little economic heft, the major countries in South Asia are in it.

The other countries on Sajid’s list are China, Japan, South Korea and the US. All major economies in North-East Asia are covered, including the world’s second- and third-biggest.

Despite the relative decline in China’s growth data, it is still the world’s most promising economy over the longer term. Vastly improved trade with China remains the grand bargain of many developed countries, particularly those in Europe.

As the jewel in Britain’s mercantile “crown” for centuries, trade with China is not to be underestimated. It was the prime reason for Imperial Britain’s involvement in the “Far East,” including Borneo (Brunei, Sarawak, British North Borneo or Sabah) as a convenient way station for sailing ships to Chinese ports.

Centuries ago, European countries were so strong that they competed among themselves for overseas territories as colonial possessions. Today, the EU is desperately holding them together to prevent many an individual slide into history’s abyss.

As a region, modern East Asia is the hub of global economic activity when it was once divided by various European imperial powers. After an initial focus on North-East Asia, post-Brexit Britain may soon consider building on its links with South-East Asia.

Of the 10 ASEAN countries, four had been part of the British Empire with three of them in the Commonwealth today. Other ASEAN members such as Thailand have also had centuries-old trade with Britain.

However, in upgrading its ties in this region, Britain should avoid the mistake of France in the 1990s.Depending narrowly on nostalgia in the Francophone countries of Indochina to boost its regional influence, Paris found itself irrelevant as the rapidly developing region passed it by.

During the Cold War, Soviet influence meant the older French-speaking generation had been replaced by Russian, then later German speakers, with technical training sourced in East Germany. Few Francophiles have survived.

Today, the CLMV countries are more interested in learning English for better progress in a globalised world. Meanwhile, the US “pivot” focuses on militarism rather than economics.

In the colonial era Britain led Europe in carving out the largest expanse of overseas territories and possessions. More recently, it again led Europe in signing on as a founding member of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Now, Britain has struck out again on its own to exit the EU, whether or not other member nations follow. The impulse remains to act distinctly and uniquely based on its perceptions of its best interests.

A “Brivot” to Asia may now be in order for Britain. As with Brexit’s concern over immigration, it is about exploring new vistas, not shunning contemporaries by retreating into the past.

Through the AIIB and later One Belt, One Road, Britain could be instrumental in forging vastly productive linkages between East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and Europe.

That could help revitalise Europe in a way no EU country could have imagined. By then, Brexit would be fully vindicated.

Bunn Nagara is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia.

After Brexit, the evolution continues

New York 

June 26, 2016

After Brexit, the evolution continues

by Bunn Nagara*

BOTH the Leave and Remain sides of “Brexit” portray it as a unique and dramatic break from the norm, but Britain’s EU exit is merely the latest phase of the evolution of Europe.

Historically, Britain’s vote to quit was a natural, even predictable progression of the state. Far from “no turning back,” this is not the end of state remodelling.

Observers of Britain’s latest referendum on Europe compare it with the 1975 version, but the real issues go back centuries. More specifically, four centuries to Westphalia in today’s Germany.

In 1648 several peace treaties were signed in Westphalia, creating the modern nation state with such principles as national sovereignty based on distinct borders and a code of conduct among governments.

In time, other kingdoms and principalities also evolved towards the Westphalian model. Meanwhile, the European states developed and grew, becoming colonial masters through conquest in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Britain was the most successful European colonial power as its rule spanned the globe. In the 19th century, it was also the world’s leading industrial nation.Then came the period of decolonisation, as former colonies gained independence and developed in the Westphalian mode.

European nation states looked inward as they abandoned their “overseas possessions.” The “New World,” an early term for America coined by Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci who gave the continent its name, had also been developing for three centuries.

Led primarily by the US, a former British colony, the earlier emergent economies became increasingly competitive. The British economy in particular had further been weakened by the Second World War.

The next phase of the Westphalian state came after the end of that war. Spurred on by the Cold War that divided Europe, the future of western European states seemed to lie in grouping together.

The Treaty of Paris was signed in 1951 to create the European Coal and Steel Community. It was to ensure peace by promoting cooperation between historical adversaries France and Germany.

In 1957, the Treaty of Rome was signed to establish the European Economic Community (EEC).The 1992, Maastricht Treaty then made the EEC the European Community (EC), which in turn became the European Union (EU).

In the process, the euro, the Eurozone and a string of controversial rules originating in impersonal bureaucracies in Brussels emerged.

Much of this left a proud Britain, separated from mainland Europe, unimpressed and even rebellious.Regardless of the party in government, Britain was never a complete Europhile as its rejection of the euro shows.

Even Margaret Thatcher, although committed to Europe, had her limits with the Europeanisation of Britain. But the process continued, and after Thatcher it became even more intense and insensitive to national prerogatives.

In the 1960s Britain applied twice to join the EEC but was blocked by France. It gained entry in 1973, with the Wilson government the following year promising a referendum in 1975 on staying or leaving.

A majority voted to stay. However, those campaigning to leave argued that the referendum had been fixed by big corporations paying big money for Britain to stay in, with hopes of reaping huge profits.

By contrast, this second referendum is vastly different in an age of widespread ICT, better informed citizens, some bitter experiences of membership – and broader participation. Thus, the different result.

The referendum is hailed as the democratic way to decide, but the result of the referendum (to leave the EU) is even more democratic than the Remain side may like to acknowledge.

The dispute is partly between big British corporations which benefit from European integration, and many more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) tied up in intractable EU regulations. Since SMEs also make up most of the British economy, a vote in their interests is the democratic option.

Those pressing to quit are incensed at having to pay for reduced sovereignty, while being made helpless with growing disenfranchisement.Some of the 10,000 EU officials earn more than Britain’s Prime Minister – and are paid by the British taxpayer.

Both sides agree that the chief issues are the economy, immigration and national identity.On balance, the substance of these issues favours the Leave side over Remain.

It may seem that arguments over the national economy could be made either way, but Britain is already the world’s fourth-largest national economy (currently fifth with the plummeting pound) regardless of EU membership.

Britain’s trade with EU countries is said to be only 6% and declining, while non-EU markets are of growing importance to Britain.

Ten years after its establishment, the EU’s GDP surpassed that of the US in 2003. But its share of global GDP dropped from 30% to 24% in another 10 years (2013) because of newly emerging economies.

Immigration is an issue the Remain side could not win on. It is of growing concern in Europe, and British control over inflows into the country has been usurped by the EU.

National identity also works against Remain, which could only deny there had been any loss. Yet increasingly, the EU seems to erode the social, cultural and even political elements that constitute British national character.

Perhaps chief among these is Britain as “the mother of democracies,” having taken the Greek democratic ideal and spread it around the world – only to lose it to Brussels.

Making the arguments on both sides required covering much ground and many issues. Challenged on the core issues, the Remain side could only unleash passion amid some confusion.

They argued that US officials like President Obama said it would be better for Britain to remain in the EU. But these are American officials representing US interests, and the US itself is not in the EU.

They said being in the EU was better for defence, but defence issues are covered by NATO, not the EU. Prime Minister David Cameron stressed the economy as key to Britain’s future. Nobody was disputing that, but the greater argument for the economy lay in leaving by saving money.

Former Premier Gordon Brown argued passionately for the EU as the best guarantor of peace between France and Germany. That is an argument for both countries to stay in the EU, not for Britain to do so. Sweden, Denmark and even France could be next in pushing to quit. Even Germany may not be far behind.

As Remain advocates insisted just before the vote that leaving would mean higher taxes imposed by countries like Germany, senior German officials immediately denied that.

Germans have also had reservations about the EU. In the 1990s they complained that EU regulations prevented a ban on suspected cattle feed from Britain that had devastated its beef industry with mad cow disease.

Now that Europe has gone to the edge of full integration and seen a component part step back, what lessons can other regions draw from it?

Every region is different. No other region has integrated as much as the EU, or has a Nato equivalent as a defence bloc, or is without a credible potential adversary today like Europe.

Britons and Europeans on the mainland will have to continue to fashion the nation state as they see fit.Others will observe and learn from their successes and failures.

*Bunn Nagara is Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Strategic and International Studies– Malaysia (ISIS-Malaysia)



For America, ‘Brexit’ May Be a Warning of Globalization’s Limits

New York

June 25, 2016

For America, ‘Brexit’ May Be a Warning of Globalization’s Limits

When the mills that birthed the industrial revolution in cities like Manchester and Birmingham still powered the British economy of the mid-20th century, Robert Stevenson was a frequent visitor to the Midlands.

Eastman Machine, the company his family helped start in upstate New York 128 years ago, had a big factory 100 miles north of London, and Britain accounted for roughly a fifth of the firm’s sales.

That was then. While Britain is still an important market for Eastman’s sophisticated cutting tools, its workshop there was shuttered in the 1970s, and British customers are now served by Eastman’s main factory in Buffalo and a smaller one in China.

So when the British electorate stunned the world on Friday with the results of the vote to leave the European Union, it was a shock for Mr. Stevenson, but not because it poses an immediate threat to Eastman’s bottom line or the job security of its heavily blue-collar, 120-strong work force in downtown Buffalo.

What most concerns Mr. Stevenson and owners of businesses big and small is what the so-called Brexit says about the shape of economic things to come.

“You never know if there will be a domino effect, and we worry about other countries securing their borders,” Mr. Stevenson said. “We were certainly surprised.”

For all the shock and awe on Wall Street and financial markets around the globe on Friday, the imminent danger to the underlying American economy is relatively small. What’s far more worrisome is whether Britain’s decision represents an end to the economic integration and opening markets that have helped propel sales at companies like Eastman over the last few decades.

Since the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989, politics and economics have mostly moved in one direction, with the elites on both sides of the Atlantic favoring policies like the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, the introduction of the European currency and the entry of China into the World Trade Organization. Business has applauded these moves, but voters are not necessarily on board as they once were.

“I think a lot of the market reaction is less about the financial impact and more about populism and what it means for the liberal economic order,” said Glenn Hubbard, a top economic official to President George W. Bush who now serves as dean of the Columbia Business School.

The Brexit vote, he added, reflects a deep distrust of the benefits of the global economic system among a wide swath of voters in Europe and the United States, and a broadly held view that government institutions — whether in Washington or Brussels — are calcifying and don’t work well.

“Both of those forces have a lot of wind at their back,” he said.“In the near term, you’re seeing markets being roiled, and feedback effects for the Federal Reserve,” Mr. Hubbard said. But for now, at least in the United States, “I don’t think it’s going to raise recession probabilities.”

When it comes to commerce, Britain is not even among the United States’ top five trading partners — it’s currently the seventh largest, according to the United States Census Bureau, which tracks trade data. American exports to Britain last year totaled $56 billion, or just over 0.3 percentage point of gross domestic product.

Partly that’s a reflection of how the United States, despite leading the era of globalization, remains something of an economic island. Exports account for 13.4 percent of American economic output, according to the World Bank, compared with roughly 30 percent for Britain.

The 2015 slowdown in the United States’ biggest trading partner — China — may have blunted domestic growth in the last year, but even that hardly threw the American economy into a tailspin. Nor should Brexit, most experts say.

Jared Bernstein, a liberal economist who most recently served in the Obama administration and is now a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, sees minimal pain within American borders. “It won’t be helpful for our economy,” Mr. Bernstein said, but “we won’t take anything like the direct hit that I expect will befall the economy.”

Several economists estimated that the fallout from the vote would probably end up decreasing growth in the American economy by about a quarter of a percentage point or less, while postponing any push by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, possibly through the end of 2016.

“The flight to safety means lots of people are flocking to U.S. Treasury bonds, putting downward pressure on interest rates,” Mr. Bernstein said. “One possible outcome is that Fed’s path to higher interest rates may become flatter as these events play out.”

“With the pound dropping 10 or 15 percent, it may strengthen a couple of our competitors in the U.K.,” he said. “I think they could be quite happy about it and gain market share.”

As befits the owner of a company that survived World Wars I and II, outlasted the Great Depression and the Great Recession, and survived the collapse of the American textile industry — all without abandoning Buffalo — Mr. Stevenson has learned to adapt to potential shocks like Brexit.

Increasingly, that’s meant focusing on making high-tech, software-driven equipment to cut composites and carbon-based fabrics for the aerospace industry and automakers, rather than the woolens and cotton Eastman’s equipment was once designed to slice.

Many of Mr. Stevenson’s current customers in Britain are in these sectors, he noted. The dressmakers and hosiers and other clothiers that once populated England’s redbrick towns have long departed.

“Our focus has been to understand where the market is going,” said Mr. Stevenson. Twenty years ago, 70 percent of Eastman’s products were of traditional fabrics; the rest were space-age materials. Now, it is the reverse, which is among the reasons a fifth generation of Stevensons will have a company to take over.

“Our goal has been to maintain the company in Buffalo and as a family business,” Mr. Stevenson said. “My son is 40, and I’m 65, and he is focused on these new materials. This saved our butt.”

For those exporters that have managed to hang on in the industrial heartland of Britain, the Brexit could actually be good news, simply because the pound’s plunge against currencies like the euro and the dollar makes their goods more competitive.

British exports like Rolls-Royce jet engines, high-end Jaguar automobiles and certain food products could get a lift. Last month, for example, Britain exported the largest cargo of wheat to the United States in more than two decades.

So would British hotels and restaurants, eager to host American visitors looking for what could amount to a 10 to 20 percent-off sale.

“If you wanted to buy a nice little house in Scotland, today’s the day,” said Kevin A. Hassett, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

Chief executives of major American companies are paid well to see around corners, and must adapt their businesses even to trends they oppose, or face the consequences in the form of falling stock prices and angry shareholders.

That’s among the reasons General Electric, which relies on foreign markets for more than half its revenue, has been preparing for the kind of political retreat from open markets that the British vote to leave the European Union represents.

“Companies must navigate the world on their own,” G.E.’s chief executive, Jeffrey R. Immelt, said in the commencement speech last month at the N.Y.U. Stern School of Business.

For G.E., he said that meant seeking to achieve “a local capability inside a global footprint.” Today, its 420 factories spread across the world give G.E. “tremendous flexibility,” Mr. Immelt said, with jet engines, power generators and rail locomotives increasingly manufactured at several sites to ensure market access.

“A localization strategy,” Mr. Immelt said, “can’t be shut down by protectionist politics.”

G.E. had prepared for the risk that Britain might vote to leave the E.U. by hedging in foreign currency markets. But beyond that immediate step, a G.E. spokeswoman said on Friday it was too early to discuss longer-term moves the company might make.

Mr. Immelt, in a statement, said that G.E., America’s largest manufacturer, which employs 22,000 people in Britain and 100,000 in Europe over all, remains “firmly committed” to both Britain and Europe.

While Brexit’s impact on Britain’s overall economy may be mixed, its London-based financial sector is likely to feel the full force of the coming storm. The City, as London’s equivalent of Wall Street is known, has boomed in the last 20 years as a global financial capital, especially for Continental banks seeking a more market-friendly home than Frankfurt or Paris.

With a recession in Britain now a distinct possibility, some experts worry that a government desperate to create and maintain jobs could seek to save the financial sector by making the City more attractive as an offshore haven.

“This could lead to London becoming even more like the Cayman Islands and other British territories, skirting around regulations, in a race to the bottom for the financial sector,” said Adam S. Posen, a former member of the rate-setting committee at the Bank of England and now president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “This potentially could leave pretty big holes in the financial safety net.”

He pointed to the 2008 crisis involving the insurance giant American International Group, where a hedge-fund-like subsidiary operating in London and under less stringent rules nearly brought down the company and contributed to the financial crash.

“They could get away with things in London that they couldn’t get away with in New York,” Mr. Posen said, “So imagine repeating that on a larger scale or a more frequent scale.”

Of course, dangers like those are the hardest to anticipate. “Right now we’re in one of those points in history,” Mr. Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute said, “where there are lot of ‘unknown unknowns,’” referring to the infamous comment by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the Iraq war.

Consider two very different types of uncertainty, Mr. Hassett explained, citing a well-known economic metaphor. If you bet on a roulette wheel, you know all the possible outcomes and the attendant risks. But now imagine a game where you don’t know all the places the roulette ball might land, or the chances of it falling into different slots or even the prizes if you are fortunate enough to bet correctly.

“In those types of situations,” he said, “anything can happen. And if you don’t know what will happen, the optimal strategy might be to assume the worst.”

Steve Lohr contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on June 26, 2016, on page BU1 of the New York edition with the headline: ‘Brexit’ in America.

Malaysian Prime Minister reacts to BREXIT Decision

New York

June 24, 2016

Malaysian Prime Minister reacts to BREXIT Decision

by Najib Razak

UK voters have spoken. As democrats, we must respect the result. We wish our British friends well in the new future they have chosen.

The step the UK has taken is historic and unprecedented. The future cannot be predicted, although a period of volatility in financial markets is to be expected as the ramifications of the result are understood and as the UK’s exit is negotiated.

We will monitor developments closely and remain vigilant to any emerging economic risks. However, we do not expect a major impact on the Malaysian economy.

With our sound fundamentals, diversified economic structure and ample liquidity in our financial markets, Malaysia is well positioned to face any volatility. I am confident that we will be able to weather this period of uncertainty. The government will also continue to strengthen the economy and further our fiscal reforms.–Prime Minister Najib Razak

With our sound fundamentals, diversified economic structure and ample liquidity in our financial markets, Malaysia is well positioned to face any volatility. I am confident that we will be able to weather this period of uncertainty. The government will also continue to strengthen the economy and further our fiscal reforms.

 We regard the UK as an important partner in all areas, including trade, investment, defence, education and tourism.For example, trade between us has been growing, with British companies such as Rolls Royce, Dyson and BAE Systems increasing their footprint in Malaysia, and Malaysian companies driving the redevelopment of one of London’s greatest landmarks, Battersea Power Station.

But our economic exposure to the UK is limited, as it is not among Malaysia’s top 10 trading partners and only accounts for about 1% of our total trade. We should increase this, and there may be an opportunity to do so now if the UK reaches out to strategically important nations beyond the EU.

Whatever comes to pass, I am confident that the Malaysia-UK relationship will be maintained and strengthened.We are both outward-facing nations, with a diversity of faiths and cultures and strong traditions of moderation and cooperation.

Bound by deep ties of shared history, friendship and trade, our peoples fought alongside each other in the Second World War and during the insurgency in what was then Malaya.We are firm allies in the fight against violent extremism, a scourge which affects us all. We must remain united in that long-term effort.

On a personal note, I have had an excellent working relationship with David Cameron. I am sad to see him depart as Prime Minister, although I respect his principled reasons for resigning. I look forward to working with his successor.

There will be testing times ahead for the UK. But the British people should know that one old friend will always be with them as they open a new chapter in their long history.


WEF ASEAN 2016–Opening Plenary Shaping the ASEAN Agenda for Inclusion and Growth

June 1, 2016

WEF ASEAN 2016–Opening Plenary Shaping the ASEAN Agenda for Inclusion and Growth

Listen to Prime Minister of Malaysia. Don’t you think he should start with Malaysia first and get on with good governance? Right now, Malaysia is credibility is low. We want good and competent leaders. Otherwise, it is all empty talk. Prime Minister Najib Razak,just do not play with words.–Din Merican