LONDON: British investors should come to Malaysia to not only capitalise on the business opportunities within the country, but use the country as a gateway to Asia Pacific and global markets.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in his keynote address at the Malaysia-UK Investor Showcase, also said they should deepen bilateral ties with Malaysia, especially in new growth areas.
He said that in May last year, Malaysia had introduced the principal hub scheme to make the country even more attractive for global companies, and to be well-positioned to take advantage of its competitive location in Asean and the Asia Pacific region.
“I am delighted to say we have already approved 12 principal hub projects,” he said.
Najib said the new growth areas were in emerging technology, high technology, capital-intensive, high value-added, knowledge-based, skills-intensive and export-oriented sectors.
There was an overwhelming turnout at the showcase at Marlborough House, Pall Mall, with many new interested investors.
Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) chairman Lord Marland, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, Minister of State for Trade and Investment UK Lord Price, senior government representatives and officials attended the showcase organised by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority and the CWEIC.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said that at the end of last year, British investments in Malaysia amounted to £3.4bil (RM19.5bil).
About half of the investments were in the chemicals and petroleum products industries while another 14% are in electrical and electronics.
The Prime Minister stressed that Malaysia was focused on the big picture and the fundamentals to get things right.
According to Najib, in 2015, there were 43 new projects which would create an additional 3,700 jobs for Malaysians.
Notable projects from Britain include Owen Mumford – with its new regional hub – and Smiths Detection, the world-leading designer and manufacturer of advanced detection systems, with its new facility, Both will be located in the south of Malaysia.
Malaysian investments in the UK included hotels – Tune and Thistle hotels; healthcare iGene and Spire; retail Laura Ashley; and leisure with Genting and Hong Leong owning casinos and leisure centres across the country.
Malaysian companies and institutions are also among the largest investors in London’s commercial and residential property market.
“Malaysia’s involvement in the Battersea Power Station Project has generated a great deal of interest. Close to £2 billion worth of property has been sold across the first three phases,” said Najib.
He also said the launch of the Battersea and Beyond initiative by Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to Kuala Lumpur last July would further expand the Malaysian investment to the rest of the UK.
The Prime Minister also spoke on Asean which is predicted to become the fourth largest economy by 2050 at the latest.
Najib also said Asean was now actively negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) which would become a reality soon with Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
RCEP nations accounted for 49% of the global population, 29.3% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product and 25.2% of global trade.