Economy makes steady gain

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s achievement in securing RM83.7bil of approved investments across various sectors in the first quarter of this year signals strong economic growth, with the country moving in the right direction, according to economists and experts.

However, the true impact hinges on the successful implementation of these projects to fully realise their potential multiplier effects and to strategise ways to make it easier for foreign investors to do business in the country.

Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the rise in approved investments shows Malaysia is the right destination for foreign investors.

He said the country has decent supporting factors such as roads, expressways, ports, a steady supply of electricity, a talent pool, and sound regulatory requirements that allow for environmental sustainability.

ALSO READ: Malaysia’s competitiveness set to improve further

“What matters now is to ensure the approved investments will be executed on time to crystallise their multiplier effects,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Earlier, Investment, Trade and Industry Minister (Miti) Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz announced that Malaysia had recorded a total value of RM83.7bil in approved investments across various sectors for the period from January to March 2024, representing a 13% increase from RM74.1bil in the same period last year.

Tengku Zafrul said the approved investments of almost RM84bil in the first quarter of 2024 reflected investors’ confidence in Malaysia.

Mohd Afzanizam said steps must be taken to ensure foreign investors receive a seamless experience when dealing with government agencies to get their projects up and running.

Malaysian Inclusive Development and Advancement Institute, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia director Tan Sri Noor Azlan Ghazali said the drop in the recent World Competitiveness Ranking by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) must be taken seriously by the government.

Malaysia is now 34th out of 67 countries in the latest IMD ranking, falling seven places from its previous position.

“For the first time, Thailand and Indonesia have surpassed Malaysia, ranking at the 25th and 27th spots respectively.

“What worries me more is the long-term trend that clearly depicts Malaysia in a downward trend or, more accurately, plummeting downward.

“This is a red flag for Malaysia.

“The IMD global competitiveness ranking is an important indicator relied upon by investors to assess a country’s level of competitiveness,” said Noor Azlan.

“Global competitiveness is one of the main targets of the Madani Economy. This is not just the Prime Minister’s goal; it is also our country’s.

“It must be closely and continuously monitored. There must be a responsible agency on this,” he added.

The economist said all parties should stop trying to blame others but instead seek solutions and take effective action immediately.

“There is no other choice but to immediately establish a dedicated team to ensure every Madani economic target is achievable. We must not get trapped in complacency,” he said, adding that he is confident that the Prime Minister would be able to turn the country into a respected nation.

Centre for Market Education chief executive officer Carmelo Ferlito said the figures announced by Miti indicated a positive outlook for the country, in particular the widespread manufacturing sector.

“Obviously, these investments are approved, and we need to ensure that they are implemented.

“Investments on paper are not investments,” he noted.

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Miti , investments , economy , madani , malaysia


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