KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia will be able to rebuild its strength and boost its economy if new strategic sectors can be explored among foreign investors and turn them into global supply chains.
National Recovery Council (MPN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said among the new strategic sectors that could be developed more intensively were digital economy, public health in terms of future pandemic preparedness research, medical equipment, medicine, environmental sustainability, and defence and security.
“I see more avenues and opportunities for companies from countries such as the United Kingdom (UK) to invest in Malaysia not only in sectors that have been delved into but also new strategic sectors.
“This is also in line with the foray made by Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali in his trade mission to the UK in October after which he reported the interest of companies from the UK to invest RM800 million in Malaysia,” he told reporters after holding a special meeting with British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (BMCC) representatives here today.
Muhyiddin said in formulating strategies to ensure the country’s recovery is driven by growth, the MPN feels that investment, including foreign direct investment (FDI), is important to ensure that strategic sectors of the country’s economy such as manufacturing and services could continue to grow.
“It is also to create employment opportunities and increase the income of more Malaysians.
“Moving forward, our country must continue to convince foreign investors of Malaysia’s economic prospects in the recovery process,” he said.
On the special meeting which lasted two hours, Muhyiddin said such discussions were very important in listening to thoughts and exchanging views with industry players, including international companies that had invested in Malaysia in various sectors, including manufacturing, petroleum, defence, finance, and health.
“The present of many representatives from large companies from the UK this morning proved that they are interested in knowing the progress of the country’s recovery process and are confident that the prospects of Malaysia’s economy are bright.
“Many things were brought up to me and I have asked BMCC to submit reports and recommendations. I will later provide avenues for them to present them (recommendations) to the Economic Recovery Council where there may be things that we can give emphasis and implement,” he said.
Among the proposals presented by BMCC were investment incentives, business cost assistance, and speeding up the recruitment process of expatriates in the oil and gas sector.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin said trade ties between Malaysia and the UK were an important strategic relationship for both countries.
“Malaysia is the UK’s second largest trading partner among ASEAN countries. Before the pandemic in 2019, the value of FDI from the UK to Malaysia was £3.7 billion but in 2020 the UK was not in the list of Top 10 FDI into Malaysia,” he said.
Asked whether the increase in daily cases and COVID-19 has affected the country’s recovery process, he said so far it had not impeded the recovery process.
“There is an increase in daily cases but this is confined to category one, two and three… the number of cases in serious categories is not so big. It is also important that we should not forget to adhere to standard operating procedures, including physical distancing which I think should still be implemented,” he said.