KLANG: It all started about 40 years ago when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad had given a talk in Manchester, England to lure direct foreign investments in the country.
Dr Mahathir, who was the International Trade and Industry Minister then, was so impressive that he attracted the attention businessmen Lord Raj Kumar Bagri from the United Kingdom.
The late Bagri, who was the chairman of the London Metal Exchange, then decided to venture into Malaysia and his son Apurv Bagri set-up Metrod Holdings Bhd (Metrod) here in 1981.
Metrod is a leading manufacturer of oxygen-free copper rods, wires and strips in Malaysia.
Given the pivotal role Dr Mahathir had played in Metrod setting foot in Malaysia, the prime minister was invited to launch the plant’s extension adjacent to its existing manufacturing facility at the Bukit Raja Prime Indistrial Park here Monday (Feb 25).
In his speech at the launch, Dr Mahathir said the government believes in a good and friendly collaboration with the private sector.
“We used to place it under the Malaysia Incorporated tag where the government encourages the rise and success of the private sector knowing full well that we will take a cut of the profit via taxation,” Dr Mahathir said.
According to Dr Mahathir, a well-developed and successful private venture will also contribute to the nation’s economic ecosystem through employment, training, development of employees, wages, housing, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and other benefits for workers and society.
Dr Mahathir said that this is why the government encouraged and supported the private sector.
“Our only hope is that the private sector will reciprocate and not operate merely for profit alone but also look into what the contributions they can share with the nation,’’ added the prime minister.
At a press conference after the launch, Bagri said his company came into Malaysia as foreign direct investment because of Dr Mahathir and the policies he had advocated.
He added that Dr Mahathir’s policies today and his stand on public-private sector partnership, were the same policies he had advocated 40 years ago, which had laid the foundation for the economic development and success of Malaysia.
Bagri also said when investors looked at Malaysia currently, they have renewed optimism and confidence in the consistency of policymaking and the government’s determination to build a strong industrial economy supported by the services sector.