JEDDAH: Malaysian companies should "strike while the iron is hot" in Saudi Arabia, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Deputy Prime Minister said opportunities were aplenty in oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which was undergoing a huge economic transformation recently.
Malaysian companies, he said, could seek out opportunities in building, construction, ICT, landscaping, town planning and other areas.
"Twenty-five percent of the energy resources of the world is located in Saudi Arabia andthey are planning six new mega cities.
"Can you imagine the kind of business opportunities there is for Malaysiancompanies to participate in," he asked reporters after a dinner hosted by theSaudi Arabian general investment authority (Sagia) and attended by the top Saudi corporate leaders.
He said Malaysian companies like the MMC Corp was already in a joint venture with a Saudi partner to develop the Jazan Economic City, while the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) was working with Saudi Arabia to build the Madinah Knowledge Economic City.
"We must encourage our companies to be bold enough to try new markets like Saudi Arabia.
"I hope after seeing the success achieved and the signing of the MoUs (between Malaysian companies and their Saudi partners) over the last two days, our businessmen will see the possibilities available to get involved in the economic development in Saudi Arabia."
He said Malaysia shared religious, cultural and historical ties with the Saudis which "puts us in a special position".
"I hope this will be a clear signal for Malaysian companies to take part in the major transformation of the Saudi economy. The time is now for Malaysian companies to make use of the golden opportunities," he added.
Najib was confident that the Saudis would not change investment rules mid-stream because they were sensitive to the fact that they want to be the 10th most competitive nation in the world by 2010.
Some of their plus points, he said, were that it was a stable regime, wascommitted to achieving its long term goal and it had the resources.
Saudi Arabia, he noted, also invested a lot of capital abroad and was looking for countries to put money into.
Normally they exported the capital to the West, he said, but the challengefor Malaysia to get a part of that investment.
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