Najib speaking to Malaysians residing in Vietnam at a dinner in Hanoi. — Bernama
HANOI: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has encouraged Malaysian companies to seek investment opportunities in Vietnam, which plans to privatise some 500 state enterprises.
The Prime Minister described the country as having “one of the most robust economies in the region”.
Najib ended his three-day official visit here yesterday, his maiden working visit to Vietnam since he assumed the premiership in 2009.
He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad and Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Speaking to reporters, Najib said many Malaysian companies had become success stories in Vietnam. As an example, he said Gamuda Bhd was carrying out the biggest property development project in Hanoi costing US$9bil (RM29.7bil).
He expressed his optimisim for the future following talks with his counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung, senior leaders and Vietnamese businessmen.
He has invited Nguyen to Kuala Lumpur, where they would sign a memorandum of understanding to elevate their bilateral ties to a strategic partnership. He said Malaysian companies should seek ventures with local investors and understand the system and culture of doing business here if they wished to be successful.
“We (Malaysia) are already the eighth largest investor here with investments totalling US$10.4bil (RM34.3bil) in 455 projects.
“Our total bilateral trade has also exceeded US$9bil (RM29.7bil) and increased by 67% in the past three years,” he said, adding that he was confident trade between the two countries would increase to US$11bil (RM36.3bil) by the end of next year.
Najib, who also met Malaysian businessmen here, said both governments had also agreed to enhance cooperation in the agriculture, banking, oil and gas, education and tourism sectors as well as defence and security.
Malaysia, he said, would also look into a request from Vietnam to ensure the well-being of its workers back home as well as the plight of Vietnamese fishermen detained for encroaching into Malaysian waters.
In his speech during a dinner on Friday with Malaysians here, Najib said although Malaysia was a relatively small nation, it had been successful with a total trade of 167% of its GDP.
“This makes us a major trading nation,” he said, reminding Malaysians to prepare for more challenges when Asean becomes an Economic Community next year.