UBS Should Declare It's Interest


An investor is not concerned about the potential political fallout on the ringgit as she expected the country’s leadership to remain “more or less status quo”.

Speaking to CNBC, Tan Min Lan said: “There are ongoing issues, but the opposition is in disarray and therefore there is no alternative. And hence a change in government in Malaysia is highly unlikely.”

Tan, who heads the Asia Pacific investment office for UBS wealth management, was reacting to strategists at the National Australia Bank (NAB).

According to NAB, the political turmoil does not herald good news for the Malaysian currency.

“The simmering political crisis remains and is likely to continue to undermine investor confidence with speculation about elections continuing to swirl,” it said.

NAB had made its forecast in a note titled “Malaysia – Truly awkward,” which is a sarcastic take on the country’s tourism advertising slogan, “Malaysia, truly Asia.”

With the ringgit continuing to slide against the US dollar, Tan remained positive of the situation.

“The current account position is very comfortable. The fiscal balance is very well managed. The monetary policy, as well, Bank Negara continues to have a very good standing with international investors,” she told CNBC.

Expressing concern over the high foreign ownership of Malaysia’s domestic bonds – at nearly 40 percent on some measurements – she however noted that the country was still rated single-A by the three major credit rating agencies Fitch, S&P and Moody’s.

Our comment

As a bank which has just paid a fine in recognition of its shoddy dealings over 1MDB’s stolen billions, UBS ought to have declared its interest before putting up Ms Tan to opine about politics and the future in Malaysia.

UBS is currently facing a prosecution case in Switzerland over its disgraceful handling of Sabah’s Musa Aman’s off-shore timber kickbacks.

It was also none other than UBS who held the account for the bogus Aabar PJS Limited BVI at its branch in Singapore, through which hundreds of millions in payments were mysteriously funnelled, sometimes in just one day.

UBS plainly failed to bother in the slightest to do its appropriate due diligence on this account.

So, the last thing UBS wants to see is any political change in Malaysia or (heaven forbid) a clear up of the notorious political corruption that it has shown itself very happy to facilitate over the years, providing bank accounts for any number of these high level crooks.

If, on top of this, they want to send their ‘wealth managers’ on to TV to try to reassure the world that all is good and well with Malaysia’s seething corruption, then they ought state first where they are coming from…. which is that they are vested up to their necks in the corruption they are defending.

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