Experts say Malaysia can learn a lot when it includes China in its Look East Policy - MIDA | Malaysian Investment Development Authority
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Experts say Malaysia can learn a lot when it includes China in its Look East Policy

Experts say Malaysia can learn a lot when it includes China in its Look East Policy

19 Dec 2023

The government’s move to include China in the Look East Policy is timely considering its economic ascendancy.

Experts said it will,ensure Malaysia’s economy could develop in tandem with the Asian economic giant.

Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Dr Oh Ei Sun underscored the significance of Malaysia catching up with China as its economic activities operate on a large scale.

“Malaysia has no choice but to incorporate these high-technology trends into its economic development.

“However, in an increasingly bifurcated world economy that sees the decoupling between China and the West, precisely in these sectors, it remains to be seen how Malaysia could carefully balance the two contrasting sides for its own national interests,” Oh told the New Straits Times.

Oh said it was most crucial for Malaysia to adopt the impressive work ethics of Japan, South Korea and China, which have transformed them into economic miracles.

When asked about the necessary domestic economic reforms needed in Malaysia, he said the country needed to strengthen processes when it comes to bringing in business.

He said Chinese investors value and expect a streamlined one-stop approval processes for its investments and trade with Malaysia.

Economist Datuk Jalilah Baba said Malaysia needs broad long-term economic strategies since many countries in Asean have evolving economies.

“The inclusion of China is necessary since it has huge market potential, not only in terms of size, but in terms of the development of new and latest technology.

“We should also collaborate with China and other countries through knowledge sharing,” Jalilah said.

Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Dr Azmi Hassan said China has a lot to offer as it is very advanced in terms of digital economy.

He said Malaysia needs to progress in the digital economy quickly.

“Currently, this sector contributes 22 per cent, and by 2025, at least 35 per cent of the digital economy will contribute to our gross domestic product (GDP).

“China has the capabilities in digital economy that we should be looking into,” he said, adding that China is very critical in terms of Malaysia’s economy and geopolitical wellbeing.

Economic analyst Professor Dr Barjoyai Bardai from Universiti Tun Abdul Razak highlighted Malaysia’s economic background and challenges are similar to China.

He said China has a very strong record in trying to eliminate poverty, considering they had more than 800 million people in poverty nd managed to bring 600 million people out of poverty with new policies.

He said China’s focus on a free enterprise market, despite substantial government involvement, is particularly noteworthy for Malaysia, which aims to transition from low to high-medium income.

“(The Malaysian government) needs to learn from this. We need to take such action that have been adapted by China to address these issues,” Barjoyai added.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had said that Malaysia which has long looked to Japan and South Korea as models for economic development in its Look East Policy, but it is now also interested in learning from China.

When speaking in an interview with Asahi Shimbun newspaper in Tokyo on Sunday, Anwar had said there was a need to be open to revising any policy that has been in place for 40 years.

He had said that the Look East Policy that fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad introduced in 1982 had been established to learn economic modernisation strategies primarily from Japan and South Korea. Anwar had said that the term ‘East’ should by right, should include China.

Source: NST