MALAYSIA has lost out to China and Vietnam in attracting Taiwanese investors to the country, Sin Chew Jit Poh reported.
Taiwan was one of Malaysia’s top investors. Based on data released by the Malaysian Industrial Development Board, Taiwan was top foreign investor in 1990 and 1994 but in 2002, its ranking dropped to seventh with an investment value of only RM197mil in the first nine months of the year.
Asia-Taiwan Businesses Association honorary president Datuk Tan Kun Huang said the 82% contraction in investment value compared with the previous year was partly due to Malaysia losing its edge as a cheap labour market.
The daily quoted Tan as saying Taiwanese investors were increasingly looking for a cheap and large labour pool in China and Vietnam.
He said Malaysia needed to re-strategise and fully utilise its Multimedia Super Corridor, which was under-publicised in Taiwan, to attract high-tech businesses.
He suggested the Government consider extending certain incentives and exemptions, given to new investors, to businesses that had long been based here to retain “old” investors and induce them to expand their operations scale.
Nanyang Siang Pau, on the other hand, highlighted the influx of cheap China-made goods which threaten the competitiveness of local businesses.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, however, said the Government could not restrict the sale of cheap Chinese goods for the sake of protecting local manufacturers.
Instead, Muhyiddin said, local manufacturers should look into quality and brand name to offset the pricing advantage enjoyed by China due to its cheap labour market.
He said cheap Chinese goods had provided more choices for the consumers but the ministry would look into quality control and product safety aspects of these items.