KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia remains an attractive investment destination for United States companies, but political stability is needed for economic growth and investment, says Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean-BAC) Malaysia.
This resolution is based on Asean-BAC Malaysia’s consultation meeting with business associations representing the US businesses to discuss Malaysia’s efforts in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) held last Friday.
During the meeting, the US Ambassador to Malaysia Brian D. McFeeters (file pic) said the continuation of a strong and collaborative relationship between the US and Malaysia and the enhancement of policy consultative mechanisms will continue to attract US economic and commercial activity.
US companies consistently rank among the largest employers in states such as Penang and most US company subsidiaries are managed by Malaysians and employ over 90% Malaysian employees.
In the manufacturing sector, the US is second only to Japan in investments, at nearly US$25bil (RM104bil), including from high-tech companies such as Intel, First Solar, and Hewlett Packard.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) deputy CEO (Investment Promotion & Facilitation) Sivasuriyamoorthy Sundara Raja (pic below) said the investment intentions remain healthy and foreign investors’ confidence in Malaysia remains high.
US-Asean Business Council senior vice-president and regional managing director Michael W. Michalak said: “Malaysia has made impressive achievements amidst these challenging times, as seen by its over 200% increase in FDI inflows in the first half of 2021. “We hope that Malaysia will continue establishing a conducive business ecosystem with robust and resilient supply chains to spur more investments, jobs and economic opportunities.”
He added that a conducive business ecosystem, would include continuous public-private consultations to ensure that businesses are involved in the crafting of policies that would affect them, in addition to ratifying key trade agreements that Malaysia has signed such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Another important factor is on the need for political stability, continuous dialogues between the public and private sector, and ratification of trade agreements such as the CPTPP which were echoed by the panellists throughout the consultation.
“We are as concerned as foreign businesses are with the dysfunction in government caused by domestic political turmoil on top of the unprecedented crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Asean-BAC Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Munir Majid.
“We make business representations, even express personal views. But Malaysia’s attractiveness for foreign investment remains and can be enhanced.
“We hope that with the new government and understanding with the opposition there will be a much-needed respite for the country to get down to business for economic benefit,” he stressed.
Asean-BAC Malaysia Council Member Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon concurred, adding that the ratification of the CPTPP could serve as an anchor and catalyst for change since its provisions would impose a wide range of standards that both the public and private sector would need to comply with.
American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce CEO Siobhan Das Bachran said Malaysia remains an important destination for American investment, but “headwinds present challenges.”
She said Malaysia needs to be decisive to attract value-added investments in priority sectors when the US businesses re-evaluate regional investment.
This includes sustainability issues on the environment and labour, and the implementation of laws promoting digital services and trade.