By P PREM KUMAR & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By TMR
Malaysia has the best opportunity to benefit from China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (picture).
He said the initiative will also enhance Malaysia-China bilateral ties, as well as improve relations connectivity between the people in the two countries.
“Currently, China has become one of the major sources of foreign tourists to Malaysia which translates into enormous economic benefits to the country,” Mustapa told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
He was responding to Tanjong Piai MP Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng, who asked if the government had conducted a cost-benefit analysis on BRI.
Mustapa added that the establishment of Xiamen University in Malaysia is one of the testaments of closer people- to-people ties between China and Malaysia.
He said Malaysia also stands to benefit from the connectivity between the two nations, with the main focus being the reduction of barriers for international relations, while improving the air, land and sea infrastructures.
“Close cooperation between Malaysia and China can be seen through air travel when AirAsia Bhd was given the rights to offer domestic flights within China.
“Malaysia has also launched the Logistics and Trade Master Plan (2015-2020) aimed at stimulating trade, facilitating business and stimulating economic growth. It is now well positioned to be the first choice for China’s logistics entrance into Asia,” he said.
Mustapa said China is the world’s second-largest economy, which offers a big market for Malaysian companies.
One of the benefits obtained by Malaysia from China is the completion of the local industrial supply chain ecosystem, which would attract new investment projects — opportunities to local industries in terms of supply chain management.
“Local sources of raw material supplies, logistics services, warehouse and factory rentals, utilities, water and sewerage supplies are examples of potential business opportunities that will be available to the local industry as one of the supply chain ecosystems of an investment project,” he said.
Mustapa said the government’s main goal of promoting the inflow of foreign investments, including from China, is to increase the use of local manpower and reduce unemployment in the country.
“For example, for manufacturing projects involving investments from China, 57,300 employment opportunities have been created for Malaysians as of 2016,” he added.
Mustapa also highlighted the technology transfer that has been brought via Chinese investments is in line with the Malaysian government’s aim to encourage new high technology, capital-intensive, high value-added, knowledge-based and export-oriented investments.
Among the examples include the 3,600 Malaysians who will undergo an industrial training programme to meet the needs in the construction of the East Coast Rail Link mega project.