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PM Anwar Hailed For Attracting FDI Of RM76.1Bil To Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was commended for his proactive efforts in attracting a significant influx of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Malaysia, reflecting the government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and stability from his recent whirlwind tour of Australia, Germany, and France.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin recently during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries this year.

Speaking to The Exchange Asia, Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) president Christina Tee said the successful trade and investment missions in key countries like Australia, Germany, and France underscore the effectiveness of collaborative efforts between various ministries and government agencies.

She said this substantial FDI injects capital into the economy, and fosters job creation, technology transfer, and industry diversification, which leads to enhancing Malaysia’s competitiveness on the global stage.

According to her, Malaysia can remain optimistic to see more economic expansion and enhancing business environment as the country’s financial outlook appears promising, buoyed by positive macroeconomic indicators and a conducive investment climate.

“While Malaysia celebrates this influx of FDI, it’s crucial to assess the readiness of the nation’s talent pool to meet the demands of these incoming investments. The availability of skilled human capital plays a pivotal role in maximising the benefits derived from foreign investments.

“Therefore, concerted efforts across both public and private sectors must be made to ensure that we cultivate a robust talent pipeline that is equipped with the necessary skills and expertise to support and drive the growth of industries targeted by these investments,” she said.

Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP), which is serving the state from the opposition front, also gave Anwar the thumbs up.

Michael Kong, the special officer to the state DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen, said Anwar’s success marks a significant milestone following last year’s record performance with total approved investments reaching RM329.5 billion, the highest in the nation’s history.

“This year amid global economic uncertainties, Malaysia has demonstrated resilience and potential in attracting more foreign investments totalling RM76.1 billion as of March 2024.

“It is evident that Malaysia is on a positive economic trajectory. If guided by prudent spending, good governance, and strategic communication with investors, we will be able to see Malaysia rise again to become the Asian Tiger,” added Kong.

According to him, Malaysia’s current economic landscape presents promising indicators.

He said despite comparisons drawn between the current weak Malaysian ringgit and the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis, a deeper analysis reveals notable differences.

Unlike 1998, where the stock market experienced a staggering 76 per cent decline, Malaysia’s stock market has demonstrated resilience, registering a 6.0 per cent increase since January 2024.

Kong said Malaysia’s foreign debt, which exceeded 16 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 1998, has significantly reduced to a more manageable 1-2 per cent.

This reduction in foreign debt has mitigated our risk of facing monetary pressures from other countries.

“The positive economic indicators are further reflected in Malaysia’s low unemployment rate, standing at a commendable 3.6 per cent. This underscores the strength of our economy and provides a solid foundation for growth.

“Moving forward, our focus should also be expanded towards implementing policies that increase disposable income among households, thereby driving domestic consumption and economic prosperity,” Kong added.

Anwar who returned last Monday from his six-day visit to Germany described his mission as an ‘extraordinary’ success for the nation which marked a significant milestone.

He told Bernama, this success was a testament to the newfound confidence of foreign leaders and investors in Malaysia’s administrative efficiency, which has significantly improved and is committed to addressing wastage issues.

He also attributed the success of his mission to the collaborative efforts of several ministries and government agencies, such as the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Securities Commission and Bursa Malaysia.

However, Anwar stressed that there is still ample room for improvement, including in terms of expediting project approvals.

“We must sustain such efforts, and if we can increase it, I think that in two or three years, Malaysia’s landscape will change,” he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on the growth figures and forecasts for this year, Anwar noted that Bank Negara Malaysia’s Economic and Monetary Review 2023 released recently was positive and reassuring.

“The foundation of Malaysia’s economy remains robust, and the economic outlook for 2024 is better than that of 2023 as we achieved a gross domestic product growth of 3.7 per cent despite facing various challenges and global economic volatility.

“For this year, our economy is expected to strengthen further with growth forecasts of 4.0-5.0 per cent,” he said.

Factors that would support the improvement in economic performance include the decrease in the unemployment rate, which fell to 3.3 per cent in January 2024, and the inflation rate which dropped to 1.6 per cent in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 from 2.0 per cent in the third quarter (Q3) of 2023.

Export performance also showed signs of recovery in January this year with an increase of 8.7 per cent after declining for ten consecutive months (March to December 2023).

In addition to the positive macroeconomic figures, the prospects for national investment are also at a very promising level.

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