Pua: Bloomberg TV’s interview with UBS official biased, based on wrong facts

G. Prakash
Tony Pua is pictured at the Finance Ministry in Putrajaya February 26, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — Pakatan Harapan MP Tony Pua today criticised Bloomberg TV for what he says are wrong facts about Malaysia’s economy.

He said that that PH government welcomes criticism as long as it is factual and constructive commentary.

Pua was commenting on a senior UBS official's interview with Bloomberg TV which he described as negative views on Malaysia based on wrong facts.

“We welcome fact-based criticisms and constructive commentaries. Malaysia, like any other country, isn’t perfect and is doing its best to recover from the damage caused by the previous administration.

“Bloomberg, with the power it wields, certainly has a duty to fact-check the information presented by their guests, especially when the mistakes were so elementary. If the information is outright false and damaging, they should be corrected,” he said in a statement today.

Pua said he was shocked when the invited guest, Kelvin Tay, who is chief investment officer for the Southern Asia and Pacific region at UBS Wealth Management, cast extremely negative views on the Malaysian economy.

Pua said Tay's claim that oil revenue made up 30 per cent of Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) was completely incorrect.

“Malaysia is well recognised by rating agencies and the investment community as having a fairly diversified economy with mining (including the oil and gas sector), manufacturing and services making up 7.9 per cent, 23 per cent and 55. per cent of the 2018 GDP respectively.

“Perhaps Tay was trying to highlight that oil and gas revenue is expected to contribute approximately 30.9 per cent of 2019 government revenue,” he said.

Pua said even then, Tay failed to highlight that the underlying contribution of oil and gas revenue as a percentage of government revenue is projected to be only 22 per cent, after fully discounting the one-off special dividend from Petronas.

Pua said Bloomberg is a global media giant with humongous traction and audience.

Tay’s ‘sensational’ interview with Bloomberg has been viralled widely on the social media, casting negative aspersions of Malaysia.

Earlier today Deputy Minister Ong Kian Ming also corrected mistakes made by Tay.

Ong said Tay had made mistakes in his interview with Bloomberg TV that a first-year economics student would not make.

“I'm surprised that an international bank would have someone at such a senior level who can't get his basic economics right.

“It's fair game to criticise the Malaysian government on some of our policies but it's totally unprofessional to get even your basic economic facts wrong,” Ong had said on Facebook.

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