MIDA chairman Datuk Abdul Majid Khan said several incentives were put in place, especially in the 2020 Budget, for Chinese investors to speed up the investment process.
During the 2020 Budget announcement on Oct 11, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said Malaysia would create a “special channel” to accelerate foreign direct investment (FDI) from China under InvestKL.
"China is a new player. Since the last five years, China has been a capital exporter, in a very serious manner, into Malaysia and for the last three years in the manufacturing sector, China has been leading actually.
"But because of the trade war and some adjustments in China itself, I think the figure this year is slightly less.
“But we have actually over RM50 billion of projects under discussion in the pipeline. So, we think by year-end or early next quarter perhaps there should be a better outcome," he said during a panel session titled “Strengthening the Long-term Partnership between China and ASEAN” here Thursday.
Abdul Majid was answering a question on the declining China investment in Malaysia this year compared to that of the US.
According to a news report citing statistics from MIDA, China’s investments in Malaysia halved to US$1.7 billion during the first nine months of 2019 from a year ago.
Addressing concerns over China’s investment in Malaysia, Abdul Majid said locals made up between 80 percent and 90 percent of the workforce of Chinese companies operating in Malaysia, and the companies supported efforts to establish centres of excellence to upgrade local workers.
"When China’s investors began to appear in Malaysia five years ago in a large number, (there were) a lot of issues (then)... The question of China is trying to import the whole supply chain where local labour were ignored (arose) and also local resources... I think there is a change now," he added.
Meanwhile, investments from the US spared seven times to US$5.9 billion as funds were diverted amid the ongoing US-China trade spat.
Two-way trade between China and ASEAN grew by 14.1 percent to a record US$587.87 billion in 2018 compared to that of 2017.
China has been ASEAN’s top trading partner for 10 consecutive years, while ASEAN has been China’s third largest trading partner after the European Union and the US for eight years in a row.
The gap between China-ASEAN and China-US trade volumes narrowed significantly by about 33 per cent from US$68.9 billion in 2017 to US$457 billion in 2018, which shows huge potential for the China-ASEAN partnership to grow further, especially in the midst of the protectionist mood in the west.
The session was moderated by Astro AWANI editor-in-chief Kamarul Bahrin Haron.
Special Envoy of President of Seychelles for ASEAN Ambassador Nico Barito and Inspiration Inc managing director Bryan Yang were among the panellists at the session, which was held at the 11th World Chinese Economic Forum here.