Trade between Malaysia and Qatar currently at its lowest

This can be improved if the Qatari govt looks into new areas — including the digital economy, according to NCCIM president

By D KANYAKUMARI / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

Trade between Malaysia and Qatar is currently at its lowest, valued at below RM2.1 billion (US$500 million).

National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) president Rizal Faris Mohideen Abdul Kader told The Malaysian Reserve that trade between the two countries should ideally reach at least RM4.21 billion (or US$1 billion).

He said the figure could be improved if the Qatari government looks into new areas — including the digital economy.

“When I spoke to my counterpart there, he said that they were not doing much in technology.

“I can say that we are very happy to share whatever we have.

“We had the Multimedia Super Corridor 20 years ago, and now we are in the forefront of Industry 4.0,” he said when met at the Qatar Economic Forum.

He added that all traditional industries are either restructuring or reshaping themselves, resulting in a phenomenal growth rate.

Rizal Faris said the two governments should initiate an industrial revolution supply chain innovation fund, as it would help companies to develop business intelligence that allows more investment into business circles.

“Secondly, we need to look into Islamic finance. Malaysia was one of those that started this and therefore, we should work on Islamic finance 2.0 and pioneer it.

“However, with more and more countries doing it now, we have to see how we remain ahead in Islamic finance,” he said, adding that the development of new business models is also needed.

“These are the things we need to do to improve, because I do not want to sit around waiting for policymakers to get their act together,” Rizal Faris said.

He said NCCIM is also expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Qatar.

“The MoU would facilitate means and channels for investment and bilateral trade,” he said without divulging further details.

In June, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Maldives and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar following an allegation of it supporting the Islamic militant group, Daesh. International Trade and

Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, however, said at the time that Malaysia was not affected by the crisis.

Referring to this, Rizal Faris said it is important for Malaysia to leverage on Qatar’s ability to turn around the crisis that hit them.

“They turned the situation around in a mere five days, and they who used to import food from other Gulf countries, have done the necessary work to now be able to export to other countries,” he said.