Government to attract Brazilian investors


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 20 Mar 2003

BY LIM CHYE KHIM

SAO PAULO: The Government will look into sending trade missions to Brazil to attract more Brazilians to invest in Malaysia, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said. 

The Prime Minister, who was on a two-day official visit here to promote trade and bilateral ties, said one way to encourage the Brazilians to exploit opportunities in Malaysia was to “meet the investors and talk to them.” 

“I’m quite sure that if we make positive efforts, there will be some people who would invest in Malaysia,” he told Malaysian journalists at the end of his visit yesterday. 

Brazil is Malaysia’s largest trading partner in South America and last year trade between the two countries totalled US$639mil (RM2430mil), up from US$514mil (RM1950mil) in 2001.  

Dr Mahathir, who was accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Dr Leo Michael Toyad and several government officials, had on Monday held discussions with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brasilia and the following day, visited Brazil’s aircraft manufacturer Embraer and weapons manufacturer Avibras Aerospacial, in Sao Jose dos Campos, about 100 km from here.  

He described his visit to Brazil as being very good and worthwhile. 

“I had good discussions with President Lula and we are of the same view (on several issues, including Iraq), which is very good to know.”  

Dr Mahathir said he and President Lula believed relations between Brazil and Malaysia could be further enhanced and that there was wide scope for increasing trade. 

“We need to identify more things that we can buy from Brazil, not just military equipment but other things as well,” he said. 

Dr Mahathir, who took a walk through the Amazon jungle in Manaus, said although Brazil might be far from Malaysia, there were some things of interest for Malaysian tourists. 

During his trek, he found rubber trees growing naturally in the jungle. 

“I found it to be a very interesting place; it was from there that Malaysia got its first rubber tree, via the Kew Gardens, England,” he added. 

On his visit to Abrivas, he said that the company supplied Malaysia with rocket launchers and he was curious about their capability. 

“I must say I’m very impressed; they seem to have very sophisticated technology comparable with the others that I’ve seen elsewhere,” he said. 

A demonstration of the company’s Astros 11 multiple rocket launching system was held at Tanjung Hantu near Lumut recently.  

Commenting on the imminent war, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia was against any US military attack on Iraq and would not be involved in it. 

“Our stand is that war is not a solution. So we will always oppose it and we will have to make contact with some countries which are also against it,” he said. 

Dr Mahathir called on more countries to try and persuade the US not to resort to military action. 

He said although war seemed inevitable, there could be some last-minute developments.  

He said during his meeting with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Brasilia on Monday, the president told him that he had written to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asking him to convene a meeting of heads of government that were not in the Security Council. 

“If Kofi Annan responds, we may still be able to do something,” said Dr Mahathir. 

Dr Mahathir also said Malaysia did not have any military preparations of any kind.  

“We don’t expect any attack against us. We don’t expect to be a base for any attack against Iraq.”  

However, in case of war, Malaysia was prepared to provide assistance like medicine supplies to those affected. 

Dr Mahathir also said the government had made preparations to mitigate the impact of war in case it broke out. 

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