By LYDIA NATHAN / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
The total approved investments in the country for 2018 increased to RM201.7 billion from RM200.6 billion in 2017, with the manufacturing sector emerging as the highest contributor.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking (picture) said between January and June 2018, overall investment was recorded at RM86.1 billion, while a total of RM115.6 billion was recorded between July and December 2018.
He said the manufacturing sector contributed RM87.4 billion in 2018, an increase of 37.2%, compared to RM63.7 billion recorded in 2017.
He said foreign investments in manufacturing projects also more than doubled to RM58 billion in 2018 from RM21.6 billion in 2017.
Leiking said the ratio of foreign and domestic investments was in line with the government’s aspiration to assume the pivotal role of driving the country’s investment agenda.
Of the total approved investments, domestic direct investments took the largest part of the share at 60.1% or RM121.2 billion, while foreign direct investments (FDIs) accounted for 39.9% or RM80.5 billion.
Foreign investors had continued to capitalise on the local ecosystems and regional synergies as FDI increased 48% from RM54.4 billion in 2017.
Leiking said this reflected a strong and targeted approach in attracting the right kind of investments that were high value-added and knowledge intensive.
“The majority of FDI was in new projects totalling RM40.3 billion, while the remaining RM17.7 billion were expansion and diversification projects,” he told reporters at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s (MITI) annual media conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Leiking added that China, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Japan and the US were the largest contributors to this sector in Malaysia for 2018 — all amounting to RM44.3 billion or 76.4% of the total approved FDIs.
Leiking said the petroleum and petrochemicals industry contributed RM32.9 billion to the lion’s share of the overall manufacturing performance in 2018.
“A notable project in this industry is Sarawak Petchem Sdn Bhd, which is part of the state government’s initiative
to develop Bintulu as a petrochemical hub.
“This is in addition to investments by Pengerang Energy Complex Sdn Bhd and Petronas Chemicals Isononanol Sdn Bhd that will be located in Johor,” he said.
Additionally, the primary industries sector’s investments were 12.2% lower compared to RM12.4 billion in 2017, largely due to lower investments in oil and gas exploration activities under the mining subsector.
“The services and primary industries also were contributors, amounting to RM103.4 billion and RM10.9 billion respectively in 2018,” Leiking said.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) has projected over RM200 billion in approved investments.
Leiking said the economy is likely to remain steady in 2019 as its macroeconomic fundamentals remain strong, despite domestic and external challenges.
“The government unveiled Budget 2019 to plot a path forward for the country. Both MITI and Mida trust that with the existing policies in place, Malaysia can and will continue to spark confidence in investors,” he said.