New investments to be fairly distributed between states

Japan and South Korea are also interested to leverage on our global halal recognition

Pic By TMR File

THE government has pledged to assign new foreign direct investments fairly between states, with greater emphasis expected on the development of East Malaysia. 

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking (picture) said his recent visit to Japan and South Korea had attracted potential investments worth a combined total of RM2.84 billion, mainly from the petrochemical, logistics, electrical and electronics, as well as healthcare industries.

“We will align the investments to make sure that the opportunity is distributed fairly between the three regions: West Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.

“In Sabah, we have a potential company that is looking to invest in the state due to cost, especially for transportation.

“However, we must negotiate to get the best tariff rates for this investment in Sabah. At the same time, there are also interests in Sarawak. We will work with the state government to ensure that the investments will happen,” Leiking told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He was responding to a question by MP Chan Foong Hin (DAP-Kota Kinabalu), who asked the government to state results from the overseas trade missions and its plans for future missions.

Leiking said many investors from the two countries are considering Malaysia as their hub for production and delivery in South-East Asia.

“This is quite interesting because a lot of the companies that are investing this time are major corporations. I cannot disclose the names, but one is the second-largest foam producer and the other is a leading company that produces stem cells for the heart,” he said.

Additionally, Leiking said the two leading East Asian economies are interested to leverage on Malaysia’s global halal recognition to get their products halal-certified by Malaysian authorities.

He added that manufacturers from both countries are also looking to produce their own halal products in the country and participate in digital commerce of the halal industry.

“I think Malaysia is the best place to certify all the halal products in the world. I believe the Department of Islamic Development and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corp are working together on a digital economy where we can sell products that are halal-certified from Malaysia to the rest of the world.

“At the same time, companies in Japan and Korea have also requested to do business- to-business activities to manufacture their products here, to use our halal brand to sell it to the rest of the world,” he said, adding that these products include food and cosmetics.

Leiking will be looking to extend the investment opportunities to Thailand next.

The Penampang MP is part of Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s two-day working visit entourage to Thailand, where the latter is expected to meet PM Prayut Chan-Ocha.

Thailand is Malaysia’s fifth-largest trading partner and the second-largest among the Asean countries after Singapore.

In 2017, Malaysia’s total trade with Thailand grew 18.4% to RM98.7 billion from RM86.46 billion in 2016.