BEIJING: Malaysia has asked China for help in getting the economic giant’s businesses to invest more in Malaysia.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he pointed out to Premier Li Keqiang during a bilateral meeting yesterday that Malaysia’s total investments in China stood at US$6.3bil (RM20.28bil), whereas China’s businessmen had invested only about US$1bil (RM3.2bil) in Malaysia.
Li agreed to encourage Chinese companies to raise their investments in Malaysia, Najib said at a press conference with Malaysian media here.
China’s outbound investments over the next five years are projected to reach US$500bil (RM1.6 trillion).
On trade between the two countries, he said it had grown by an average of 18.1% per year since 2000.
A five-year programme for economic and trade cooperation between Malaysia and China aims to push annual trade to US$160bil (RM514.32bil) by 2017.
“To achieve that target, that double-digit growth rate must be maintained over the next five years,” said Najib.
He said Malaysia and China had reiterated their commitment to develop relations based on their agreement to upgrade bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
The agreement was reached when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Malaysia last October.
Other matters brought up by Malaysia included requests that China review its ban on raw uncleaned bird’s nest from small Malaysian enterprises, and that it supports a collaboration between Proton and Chinese carmaker Geely to produce cars for the Asean market.
In response to an unrelated question, Najib said Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong would be given a Cabinet post if he wins the Teluk Intan by-election.
“Gerakan is a founding member of Barisan Nasional. It has been the practice thus far to have the party president as a Cabinet member.
“I can make the commitment here that if he wins, then by virtue of his position, he will be appointed a member of the Cabinet,” he said.
Earlier, at the welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of People here, Najib was given a 19-gun salute as national anthems of both countries were played.
He then inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by China’s three military services.
The bilateral meeting was followed by the signing of several government-to-government agreements and memorandums of understanding including the setting up of Chinese consulates-general in Kota Kinabalu and Penang, and a Malaysian consulate-general in Nanning.
MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who is among those in the Malaysia delegation, said yesterday’s bilateral meeting was a historical event in the Malaysia-China relationship.
“I congratulate the Prime Minister for successfully raising urgent issues that need to be addressed. It was a fruitful meeting,” he said.