CIMB Group Holdings Bhd Group Chief Executive Officer, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, said the measures would give more flexibility for companies to issue bonds at a reduced cost and issuance period.
In his keynote address at the Invest Malaysia 2014 on Monday, Najib said the equity shareholdings for credit rating agencies would be liberalised, and international credit rating agencies with full foreign ownership would be allowed in the Malaysian market from Jan 1, 2017.
"Malaysian companies who are in those areas need to response by also going international. You should also compete in another market," said Nazir.
Representing foreign fund managers, Gerald Ambrose, Country Head of Aberdeen Asset Management, said he was particularly delighted with Najib's announcement on further liberalisation to promote investment.
"We have been here since 2005. Although we are allowed to manage money for institutions for conventional funds, we could not approach the retail investors for unit trusts and we were only allowed to manage money for the institutions like the government-linked companies.
"With the announcement, we are allowed to approach anybody and people can buy units with as low as RM1,000. That is what we have been asking for, so we are happy," he said.
AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, said it was a good move for the government to scrap the mandatory requirements for credit ratings.
He said a lot of companies would benefit from this new liberalisation, which would reduce business costs.
"It is up to the banks to feel if they are comfortable with their lending to the companies.
"Ultimately, lenders will come to evaluate a company's books, they will play out the risks and price the company accordingly," he said.
Anuar Manap, member of Parliament for Sekijang, Johor, said Najib's liberalisation measures would strengthen the country's capital markets.
"It would also attract a fresh wave of investments into the country," he said.
"This is a major move and some of the measures are immediate, such as allowing foreign corporations to own 100 per cent of shares in unit trust management companies, and there will be no barriers to entry for new foreign unit trust management companies coming into Malaysia," he said.
Developing a strong capital market here, he said, meant internationalising ownership and the talent base.
"This is where Najib has hit a home run by laying down a fixed timeline and clear steps towards full ownership of operations by international players," he said.