FLIE PIX BY AFIF ABD HALIM
The recent official working visits to the US and the UK have elevated bilateral trade and investment ties between Malaysia and the two economies, said Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.
He said the close ties were important to promote Malaysia as an attractive investment destination in the region, as good diplomatic relationships were among primary factors considered by corporate com- panies before making an investment decision.
“The confidence of investors from the US and Britain on the Malaysian economy needs to be maintained and enhanced,” Najib said in a written parliamentary reply to Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, who asked the government to state the official visits’ outcome to the country’s economy.
“The meeting between the leaders of Malaysia, the US and Britain in September should be viewed as a strategic step towards the long-term benefit of the nation.”
The US was Malaysia’s third-biggest trade partner with trade exceeding RM136 billion last year.
“To date, American companies have invested RM70 billion in the manufacturing sector alone. They are also actively involved in other sectors such as oil and gas, banking and insurance,” said Najib.
He added that at least 200,000 Malaysia n s are employed by American companies operating in Malaysia.
Najib said in the last seven months, investments approved from the US stood at RM354.1 million and have created over 1,500 job opportunities.
The working visits also enhanced Malaysia’s profile in the US, while reiterating the positive perception of Malaysia as a trade and investment partner to the current US administration.
He added that the 2018 Asean Business Outlook Survey found that over 63% of the respondents (American companies) forecast higher income from Malaysia in 2018, while 57% wanted to expand their existing businesses in Malaysia.
On his visit to Britain, Najib said although he did not divulge much on trade partnership and investments during the visit, Britain was Malaysia’s 17th-biggest trade partner globally, and the European Union the third-biggest last year, valued at over RM15.29 billion.
“Up until June 2017, RM18.09 billion worth of investments in the manufacturing sector were approved, creating 60,552 jobs,” he said.
Najib — in the meeting with US President Donald Trump on Sept 12 in the White House — had pledged that Malaysia Airlines Bhd would buy more Boeing airplanes, in a deal which would worth more than US$10 billion (RM42.3 billion) within five years.
He said the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) will invest an additional US$3 billion to US$4 billion on US infrastructure development, while Khazanah Nasional Bhd also planned to increase its investment in high-tech companies.