Malaysia has much to gain from China trade deals, says business group
04 Apr 2023
Malaysia has much to gain than to lose from the slew of trade and business agreements and memoranda of understanding signed with China recently during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s official visit.
“It’s not right to see them as a debt trap to us as alleged by some,” said Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) treasurer-general Datuk Koong Lin Loong (pic).
ACCCIM was a key mover in Anwar’s recent visit to China.
“Chinese investors are sincere in having trade relations that are mutually beneficial. They also did not give us loans and charge high interest.
“The high-speed rail (HSR) project is a good example. Private enterprises from both nations were invited to collaborate on it without government funding.
“We won’t get sucked into the debt spiral,” he told The Star.
Citing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) example, Koong said countries that initiated such cooperation with China reaped benefits.
“Malaysians will fill many top-level positions despite the Chinese needing some expatriate visas.
“Look at Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co, where Geely and Proton (DRB-Hicom Bhd) will launch a jointly-developed automotive high-technology valley in Tanjung Malim, Perak.
“This indicates that technology has been transferred and local job prospects have expanded,” said Koong, who also dismissed concerns that the trade war between China and the United States, the world’s two largest economies, would hurt Malaysia.
He said Malaysia’s open economy and multilingual environment will attract investors from both nations if a sanction is imposed.
“Malaysia’s strong and open economic foundation means it does not need to worry about its allegiance. Those who think otherwise are narrow-minded and have a negative perspective of things,” he said.
Koong said he believed Anwar’s visit would boost Malaysia in the current medium-term of the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025).
“A task force should be formed to oversee the implementation and progress of all MOUs, including other investments.
“All relevant government agencies should step up and cut bureaucracy to make it simpler for investors to come to Malaysia and do business,” he said.
SME Association of Malaysia president Ding Hong Sing said some projects in the 19 MOUs inked during the visit have gotten a head start.
“Preparations began some time ago. For the Geely-Proton electric vehicle collaboration, 404ha of land in Tanjung Malim, Perak was purchased.
“What’s in the MOUs are good cooperation projects that will benefit both nations.
“Investments bring technology transfer, local jobs and higher wages, all of which will boost our microeconomy. This model works,” he said.
Ding also commended Anwar for “doing it right” by visiting neighbouring countries and allies, without sidelining China, the second-largest economy in the world.
“In 2018, the prime minister that time held divergent views, straining relations with China.
“Now Indonesia and Vietnam have advanced, we need to convince others, especially China, to invest in us,” said Ding, who added that Malaysia’s long-standing relationship with China and high degree of Chinese literacy gives the country an advantage.
“We have had successful BRI cooperation with China under MCA, which did well (in the trip).
“It’s time to capitalise on our strengths and attract strategic investments,” he said.
Malaysia and China signed 19 MOUs for a record RM170bil in investment deals when Anwar visited the nation from March 30 to April 2.
Source: The Star