Selangor eyes Asean business capital status

The state is leveraging on its strengths in services and manufacturing to appeal to the Asean market


THE Selangor state government is con dent of maintaining investors’ confidence in line with the efforts to establish the state as the Asean business capital and the gateway to the region.

Selangor state senior executive councillor (investment, industry and commerce, small and medium enterprises (SME) and transportation) Datuk Teng Chang Khim said the state is looking at leveraging on its strengths in manufacturing and services to appeal to the Asean market.

The state is also striving to be the main point for international players that are looking to break into Asean.

“Last year when experts made their forecast for this year, it was quite optimistic but entering the third-quarter (3Q17) now, it is not the case.

“So for next year, it’s important to find what attracts the investments and to sustain them — sustaining investments in our state is the difficult part,” he said on the sidelines of the Selangor-Asean Business Conference 2017 in Shah Alam yesterday.

Teng said while foreign direct investments (FDIs) in Selangor last year were maintained from 2015 levels, FDIs in the country as a whole fell last year.

Even though no forecast has been made yet for Selangor for next year, he said the outlook is unlikely to be highly optimistic for 2018 based on how things are looking at present.

“That doesn’t matter though, work has to carry on. We will sustain investments in our state by working closely with investors to discover the problems they face and what solutions are suitable.

“This is our added value, on top of incentives given by the federal government,” Teng said.

According to recent data from the Statistics Department, Selangor remained the main contributor to the national economy in 2016 with a 22.7% share, up 0.1% from the previous year on performances from the services and manufacturing sectors.

Invest Selangor Bhd recently revealed that the state is expecting five more European companies to invest in Selangor, apart from Swedish furniture retailer IKEA’s RM908 million distribution hub in Pulau Indah.

For this year, the state is on track to achieve its projected growth, which Teng said is expected to be slightly above the national forecast.

RAM Rating Services Bhd last month revised its projection for national gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 5.4% for 2017 from 5.2% previously, due to the upsides from trade and investment.

Malaysia recorded GDP growth of 5.8% in 2Q17, its fastest pace in over two years spurred by strong private sector spending and robust export growth. The unexpectedly high expansion came on the back of a 5.6% increase in 1Q17.

Meanwhile, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said that Selangor-Asean business will prosper as the state primes itself to be transformed into a regional trading hub and the gateway to Asean.

Officiating the Selangor-Asean Business Conference 2017 yesterday, Azmin said Selangor possesses ethnic, language and religious diversity, with a focus on the education, biotechnology research, aerospace and infrastructure sectors, which is in line with Asean’s priority sectors of agri-food, healthcare, retail and logistics.