Western Australia seeks investors


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 31 May 2003

BY DALILAH IBRAHIM AND JANE RITIKOS

KUALA LUMPUR: Western Australia wants to lure more Malaysians to invest in the state, particularly in a new and broader range of industries like those in the manufacturing and service sectors, Western Australia premier Dr Geoff Gallop said yesterday. 

Dr Gallop said Malaysian investments in the state were limited to property and hospitality-related activities. Many investors, he said, had said they were comfortable with the sectors they were investing in. 

“Western Australia’s economy is very diversified and we hope to change this narrow focus. 

“Malaysians businessmen can look into investing in new technologies, winery, information communication technology, mining and food industries,” he told a press conference yesterday. 

Earlier, Dr Gallop paid a courtesy call on International and Trade Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz at her ministry.  

Also present were Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia James Wise, senior policy adviser to the premier Ben Harvey, the commission’s first secretary Andrew Mitchell and Kuala Lumpur Western Australian trade office regional director Elaine Yong. 

Malaysian investments in Australia last year totalled RM172mil and there were 56 companies with Malaysian interests operating in both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. 

He said that Western Australia could invest in healthcare and research and development in agriculture and biotechnology in Malaysia. Western Australia’s main exports to Malaysia were food products. 

Malaysia, he said, was an important trading partner for Australia and Western Australia, importing about A$400mil (RM1bil) worth of products from Western Australia last year. 

“There needs to be broader trade relations between our countries especially with the way both are developing,” he said. 

Malaysia’s status as one of three countries to record an increase in visitors to Western Australia last year showed its importance as a growing tourism market, he said. 

“Each year, over 40,000 Malaysians visit our state and another 17,000 have chosen to live here. There are over 2,000 Malaysians studying in Australia providing strong support to our education sector,’ he said. 

The premier, who visited the Curtin University campus in Miri, Sarawak, on Thursday (see story on page 25), announced that five top students from the Miri campus would complete their final year at Curtin University in Perth under a joint scholarship scheme. 

Dr Gallop said the scholarship would run for three years and, if successful, would be extended. 

The Western Australia government will bear the costs of airfare and on-campus accommodation for the students. It will cost the state A$75,000 (RM187,500) while the university will pay the tuition fees. 

“We are very keen to promote the (Miri) campus and the scholarship is to demonstrate to the Malaysian and Sarawak governments our commitment towards building a stronger relationship,” he said. 

The Miri campus has been operating for five years and has 1,300 local and international students mainly in engineering and commerce courses. 

“We hope to increase the number to 4,000 to 5,000 students soon,” he said. 

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