PETALING JAYA: Malaysia attracted RM207.9bil worth of approved investment into key industries in 2019, but the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has clouded its potential in 2020.
“Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a long-term capital flow, ” Senior Minister and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali(pic) said in a statement.
“We trust that the existing foreign companies will continue to weather the storm and retain their investment in the country, ” he said.
Malaysia kick-started this year with five approved manufacturing and services projects worth RM4.6bil.
Most businesses, however, have come to a virtual halt since March 18 with the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“While the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the global industrial system, the International Trade and Industry Ministry is committed to ensuring that Malaysia continues to be positioned as an investor-friendly location for long-term growth of both foreign and domestic businesses, ” Azmin said.
He said the government has been proactive during the MCO in balancing public health and strengthening the economic fundamentals by providing the necessary approval for companies in several economic sectors to operate, subject to strict adherence to health and safety guidelines.
“The priority now is not about the number of investors or absolute value of investments, but to bring in high value-added investments that can help to revive the economy, ” Azmin said.
He called for closer partnerships between federal, states and local authorities in facilitating investors and in the implementation of approved projects.
“All stakeholders need to make the necessary changes and re-engineer processes to deliver more efficient and effective services, ” he said.
“Digitalisation and automation is indeed the way forward.”
In 2019, a total of RM207.9bil worth of investments were approved in the manufacturing, services and primary industries, according to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.
This was 1.7% compared with the amount approved in 2018.
The services sector led the way for total investments approved in 2019, up 11.3% from 2018.
Domestic direct investment accounted for 60.4% (RM125.5bil) of the total approved investments in 2019.
Although FDI made up 39.6% (RM82.4bil) of the total, the value of FDI in 2019 had increased by 2.9% from the previous year.
Two-thirds of the FDI were contributed by three countries – the US (RM26.8bil), China (RM15.7bil) and Japan (RM12.1bil).
Among notable projects approved last year were the RM10bil project by Intel to bring in its latest advanced assembly and test technology and an investment by a British-based company, Smith+Nephew, to set up its orthopaedics manufacturing facility in Penang.
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