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Old Posted Sep 16, 2021, 10:18 AM
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Malaysia remains on the radar of potential foreign investors, says MITI minister
By Ayisy Yusof - September 14, 2021 @ 2:33pm

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will continue to be an open economy, with pro-business and pragmatic policies that will help to improve the country's investment climate as it has been for decades.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said Malaysia's ongoing efforts have successfully kept the country on the map of prospective foreign investors.

"Investing in pandemic preparedness is crucial for resilient growth, and there can be no lasting end to the economic crisis without an end to the health crisis," he said in his keynote address at the recent virtual meeting between the ministry and the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC).

Azmin said Malaysia had introduced the National Recovery Plan, which charts a four-phase strategy by balancing public health, economic sustainability, and people's livelihoods.

"Guided by this plan, we are gradually resuming business and social activities, which are imperative in achieving full recovery eventually," he said.

Azmin said the government has also introduced the National Investment Aspirations to navigate Malaysia towards a regional investment hub that increases economic complexity, creates high-value high-tech job opportunities, and extends domestic linkages.

This was part of Malaysia's long-term strategic plan, including the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) that would be the central guide for economic policymaking until 2025, Azmin said.

"Using the Fourth Industrial Revolution as the springboard, the plan also encompasses social re-engineering to close the gap between rural and urban areas by strengthening social security networks and improving the wellbeing of the people," he said.

Azmin emphasised that Malaysia places top priority on capitalising on the synergy between government and the private sector to expedite economic recovery and foster stronger collaboration in growth, wealth creation, and shared prosperity.

"We are on the same page concerning the imperative to advance capacity building and capabilities in digital technologies.

"Indeed, this is essential to win that decisive war against Covid-19 while ensuring that we move in tandem with the fast-paced technological changes of our time," he said.

In echoing this synergy, he was encouraged by the continued interest and participation of US-ABC in supporting ASEAN and Malaysia to foster its digital transformation agenda.

"Malaysia remains steadfast in undertaking continuous digital transformation – mainly through the MyDIGITAL agenda, a new dimension of our digitalisation policy," he said.

The agenda was poised to transform Malaysia into a digitally-driven nation, a springboard for the business community to access a regional market of more than 650 million people and potential online consumers of 400 million strength.

Meanwhile, he said Malaysia recorded an expansion of 16.1 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in the second quarter of 2021, mainly supported by improvement in domestic demand and robust export performance.

Malaysia's total trade rose 23.9 per cent to US$306.9 million in the first seven months of 2021. The US has been Malaysia's third-largest trading partner since 2015.

Malaysia had also recorded a promising growth of 8.2 per cent in total trade with the US, reaching US$42.6 billion despite global trade registering a deficit last year.

The US is Malaysia's second-largest foreign investor in terms of implemented manufacturing projects.

"Nevertheless, I strongly believe that there is still plenty of upside for the foreseeable future, particularly if we factor in the economies of scale that could be derived with extension to the Asean region," he added.

Malaysia also achieved robust and impressive performance for the first half (1H) of 2021, with foreign direct investments (FDI) soaring by 223.1 per cent compared to 1H of 2020.

This has signalled the confidence of foreign investors in the country's stable and conducive economic climate and business ecosystem.

The stellar performance also demonstrated Malaysia's strategy of positioning the country as an attractive investment destination of choice and a supply chain hub in ASEAN, particularly for manufacturing operations, is showing positive results.
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