MITI confident FDI in 2019 will surpass last year’s levels

Attracting talents: Goh (left) giving a tour of the new Grab centre to Leiking. Goh says it will spearhead the development of an in-house pool of professionals.

PETALING JAYA: International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking is upbeat on higher inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country this year compared with 2018.

“The FDI outlook is very positive. I believe that the FDI for this year would be higher than last year,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the launch of Grab’s new office in Bandar Utama here yesterday.

Although the official FDI figures for last year have not been released, the latest statistics for the January-to-September 2018 period showed that total FDI inflows grew 17.67% to RM64bil.

Earlier reports also said that the total approved FDI in the manufacturing sector from May to September 2018 after the Pakatan Harapan came into power rose 380% to RM35bil compared with RM7.3bil in the same period in 2017.

“We have to knock on their (investors’) doors as well. They are from China, the United States and also the region. Companies are looking to us for space. There are many investments that could come,” he added.

He noted that while the focus seemed to be on manufacturing and high-technology investments, the country should also not give up opportunities in the agriculture industry.

“There are a lot of things in agriculture that we were good at. We actually have this opportunity to feed the world as well,” Leiking said.

In his speech at the launch, he said being merit-based should be the way forward and once the country could reach this point, it could grow to greater heights.

“When I was in Hong Kong, there were a few Malaysians who were running multinational companies that are hardly known to us. They were Malays, Chinese, Indians and even a Kadazan guy. They all said they were Malaysians and never defined themselves as a particular race,” Leiking said.

Grab opened its new regional centre of excellence (RCoE) and research and development centre where it will create some 400 new high-value jobs to raise its total employees in Malaysia to 1,000.

The RCoE would spearhead the development of an in-house pool of highly-skilled professionals who are experts in their respective domains, said a statement by Grab.

“Our strong investments in Malaysia is our response to the government’s call for public-private partnerships to help drive the Industry 4.0 blueprint and digital economy ambitions.

“We are committed to helping Malaysia unlock greater economic gains by creating high-value jobs, nurturing deep tech talents and attracting more Malaysians overseas to return home,” said country head for Grab Malaysia Sean Goh.

“We have always remembered our roots as Malaysia is where we founded Grab almost seven years ago, with the simple goal of solving the problem of transportation safety. Now that we have grown beyond ride-hailing to become South-East Asia’s leading everyday super app, it is natural for us to give back to the country where we started,” Goh added.

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