BEIJING: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak expects to see a surge in Chinese investments in Malaysia, saying businessmen from China have made great contributions to the national economy.
In the manufacturing sector, the Prime Minister said China was the second largest investor in the first eight months of this year, with Malaysia recording 20 approved manufacturing projects worth RM2.4bil from there.
“Our bilateral ties are at their highest level now. I am optimistic that business cooperation will also reach greater heights.
“We welcome the involvement of leading Chinese companies in a range of our flagship developments, institutions and projects.
“You have made a great contribution to our economy,” Najib told a roundtable of 35 Chinese captains of industry yesterday.
Also present at the roundtable yesterday were Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, the Prime Minister’s special envoy to China; and Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, International Trade and Industry Minister.
Najib, in his opening remarks to corporate giants the likes of Alibaba Group, said: “We are a business-friendly government.
“We are receptive to foreign direct investments.
“As government leaders, we want to build a robust, strong, dynamic and comprehensive partnership with countries.”
He said that healthy political and business exchanges at the highest level had helped strengthen Sino-Malaysia economic and trade relations further.
Malaysia-China bilateral trade last year was close to US$100bil (RM420bil).
In January-June this year, total trade with China increased by 2% compared with the same period in 2015, he said.
And by the end of last year, China’s investments in Malaysia stood at US$2bil (RM8.4bil), a figure which he said “is set to rise further”.
Later, he attended a Malaysia-China business luncheon, addressing some 173 Chinese companies and nearly 100 Malaysian corporations with a combined market capitalisation of more than US$1.08 trillion (RM4.5 trillion).
“Malaysia is a land of great opportunities. We welcome investments at all levels but it is noticeable that China is (already) involved in supporting some flagship projects that will play a huge role in Malaysia’s transformation into a high-income status nation and beyond,” he said.
Najib noted that even in difficult economic times, China continued to trade with and invest in Malaysia.
One example is a huge investment by Powerchina International Group for the construction of Melaka Gateway. Another is China Railway Group Ltd, together with Iskandar Waterfront Holdings, will develop the integrated underground city, Bandar Malaysia.