‘Attract new investors but also make existing ones stay’ - MIDA | Malaysian Investment Development Authority
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‘Attract new investors but also make existing ones stay’

‘Attract new investors but also make existing ones stay’

26 Jun 2023

JOHOR needs to work closely with the Federal Government if it wants to remain the top investment destination in the country.

Johor South small and medium enterprises (SME) Association advisor Teh Kee Sin said it was getting more challenging for Malaysia to attract new investors as it faced stiff competition from other countries in the region.

“Attracting new investments into Johor is equally important as keeping the existing multinational corporations from relocating their operations elsewhere,’’ he said when contacted.

Teh was asked to comment on the news that Panasonic AVC Networks Johor Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PAVCJM) had ceased two production lines at its plant in Pasir Gudang, impacting 880 workers.

The move came after the closure of three companies under the Panasonic group in Malaysia, including the public-listed Panasonic Manufacturing Malaysia Bhd (PMMA).

“It is a wake-up call for both the Federal and Johor governments not to ignore existing companies in Malaysia like Panasonic,’’ he said.

He said the company had been around in Johor for more than 30 years, and it was sad to see them winding up their operations after all these years.

He said when the company first started operations in the country, the operating costs were low, and over the years, Malaysia has become less attractive to labour-intensive manufacturing activities.

“Johor needs to attract more capital-intensive and high-technology companies and gradually reduce its dependency on labour-intensive investments,’’ said Teh.

He said the state has to work closely with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), especially during business roadshows at the international level.

Teh said Johor had built its reputation over the years as one of the states with strong manufacturing-based activities and should position itself as a high-tech investment hub.

“To achieve that, we need to produce more semi-skilled and skilled workers, including competent engineers and technical-related staff, and a strong research and development culture,’’ he said.

Johor Baru Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Low Kueck Shin advised Johor to leave the Panasonic episode behind and instead look at ways to continue attracting new investments.

“We don’t have to look far, as our closest neighbour Singapore offers good business opportunities and growth prospects,’’ he said.

Low said Johor has the right ecosystem to attract Singapore-based SMEs, especially food processing companies, to relocate their operations to Iskandar Malaysia.

He said Johor’s close proximity to Singapore was an added advantage for the SMEs to invest there instead of relocating to other countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam.

“They can still maintain their headquarters in the republic, but with their manufacturing activities in Iskandar Malaysia,’’ said Low.

He proposed that Johor open more halal parks in the state to cater to foreign companies, not only from Singapore but also China and European countries.

“Johor should make more efforts to start developing, transforming and positioning the state as the leading halal manufacturing hub in the region,’’ he added.

Source: The Star