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Malaysia-China ties remain strong amid global health crisis

Malaysia-China ties remain strong amid global health crisis

17 Dec 2021

China remains Malaysia’s largest foreign investor in the manufacturing sector between 2016 and 2020.

Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the two countries have continued to strengthen economic ties, despite being in the middle of a global health crisis.

“China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009 and accounted for 18.6% of Malaysia’s total trade in 2020.

“Exports to China recorded a new high in 2020, expanding by 11.1% to US$37.77 billion (RM159.84 billion) and China was also Malaysia’s biggest import source, accounting for 21.5% of total imports,” he said in a pre-recorded opening speech during the Global Chinese Economic and Technology Summit (GCET) 2021 yesterday.

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority has approved 243 projects with a total investment of US$14.91 billion and in turn created more than 50,000 job opportunities in the country.

Renowned Chinese companies Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Longi Solar Technology Co Ltd, JinkoSolar Holding Co Ltd, Alliance Steel, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd and Xiamen University have chosen Malaysia as their preferred investment destination, where it reflects upon the country’s business-friendly ecosystem.

“Malaysia offers unparalleled advantages for investors not just as a Gateway to Asean, but to markets of the world. Several international organisations, in their latest reports, attest to the efficacy of the policies implemented by the government,” the PM said.

Malaysia’s achievements include being ranked 25th among 64 countries by the IMD World Competitiveness Centre and the sixth most digitally-savvy government out of 139 economies by the World Economic Forum based on its Network Readiness Index 2016.

“Our pro-business philosophy is evidenced by the government’s commitment to the concept of a public-private partnership.

“Rebuilding Malaysia’s economy will not be an easy feat, but it is critical for all of us to remain united as we navigate our way out of the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic,” Ismail Sabri said.

“Having said that, I call upon the private sector to be the catalyst for reform, to drive sustainability and contribute to our collective goal of making Malaysia ever more resilient,” he added.

The one-day GCET summit, aimed at promoting business, cultural and digital economy cooperation and diplomacy, was also attended by Penang Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing.

Wee said his ministry has managed to finalise and proceed with the originally planned Northern Alignment of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.

“Reverting the ECRL to its original alignment will make it more competitive, not just economically but also reduce its environmental and social impacts,” he said in his speech.

“The ECRL project is part of the Chinese government’s Belt and Road initiative, which will be the ‘landbridge’ that will link the country’s east and west coasts and spur growth to close the development and economic gaps between the east and west coasts,” Wee added.

Earlier this month, the Selangor government agreed to the 170km-long Section C of the ECRL to revert to its original alignment passing through northern Gombak.

Wee had said that the cost of the project would remain at RM50.27 billion even after the state government’s agreement to revert to the original route.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Fuzi said China remains an important economic and strategic partner to Malaysia and by extension, Penang.

“According to MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry), Penang attracted over RM53 billion in approved investments in the manufacturing sector from 2016 until June 2021. This is a testament to Penang’s world-class talent, business-friendly environment and our innovative economy,” he said.

“The Digital Penang Plan can also benefit from closer cooperation with China’s technology giants, which play a key role in shaping our digital future.

“I call for greater collaboration in digital technology cooperation between Penang and China,” Ahmad Fuzi added.

Source: The Malaysian Reserve

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