How Brexit will affect Malaysians

How Brexit will affect Malaysians

PETALING JAYA - Britain's historic vote on whether to remain or exit from the European Union (EU) will have many implications on Malaysians who make up one of the biggest investors of UK property, especially institutional investors that include the Employees Provident Fund, Retirement Fund Inc (KWAP) and Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT).

Malaysian investors are involved in a number of property development in Britain including the redevelopment of Battersea, and both countries have strong bilateral trade relations.

British colleges and universities are long-time favourite choices for Malaysian parents sending their children for overseas education and this has contributed to Malaysians snapping up property in the major education cities in the UK.

Britain's property market has been a hotbed for investors from around the world although property demand has become subdued in the period leading up to yesterday's vote casting.

Industry observers said investors of UK property can take comfort that there is a silver lining behind the European Referendum.

KL-based Cornerstone International Properties director Virata Thaivasigamony said if Brexit occurs, there will be a period of uncertainty and the pound will take a beating.

"The UK will be literally 'on sale'. This is advantageous to investors, particularly those investing in UK student property because UK education will remain strong regardless of Brexit. Malaysians and other foreigners including those from the EU will not stop sending their children to study in the UK - people still want a degree from a UK university," he added.

Meanwhile, currency investors continue to be wary, preferring to wait on the sidelines.

Commenting on the potential impact of a Brexit on the local financial markets, Bank Negara said in a statement that Malaysia's markets are well positioned to face any major volatility over Britain's referendum on its membership in the EU.

The central bank's Financial Market Committee is monitoring the situation and would remain vigi­lant to any potential emerging risks and challenges to the domestic financial markets.

The central bank said the committee also cautioned that the impact and volatility could spill over onto the financial markets.

"It should be emphasised that liquidity in the domestic market remains ample and our financial markets are well positioned to face any major volatility.

"Players stand ready to support the orderly functioning and smooth intermediation in the financial markets," it said.

The results from the referendum over whether Britain should exit (Brexit) or remain in the EU are expected at between 2pm and 4pm Malaysia time today.

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