The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and its agencies will be transitioning into the year 2023 under the leadership of the new MITI Minister YB Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, who was appointed on 3 December 2022.
YB Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul commenced his duties with official visits to the agencies of MITI, with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) officially hosting him on 8 December 2022. During the visit, MIDA provided an overview of its role in the development of the manufacturing and selected services sectors, covering its functions of investment promotion, policy advocacy, evaluation (manufacturing licences, incentives and import duty exemptions), and facilitation. The meeting enabled MITI and MIDA to sharpen the focus of their investment development strategies for 2023, in line with the opportunities and challenges of the current global landscape.
MITI’s Three Priorities
In his first address as MITI Minister, YB Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul listed three priorities for MITI in gearing up Malaysia to face the global economic slowdown:
The focus on restoring investors’ confidence signifies the importance of investments, both foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic direct investment (DDI), as building blocks of Malaysia’s resilient economic growth. MITI and MIDA will continue to adopt a pro-business approach and develop policies which are accommodative of investors’ needs. This effort will be guided by the New Investment Policy (NIP) with initiatives such as streamlining business processes to enhance the ease of doing business, offering agile incentives (both fiscal and non-fiscal) to attract high-quality investments, and improving the mechanism to obtain feedback from investors and review the effectiveness of incentives and facilitation offered by the Malaysian government.
MITI and MIDA will intensify efforts in targeting high-quality investments and unlocking new growth opportunities which arise from global trends and Malaysia’s unique capabilities, primarily in sectors such as the digital economy, electrical and electronics (E&E), pharmaceutical, aerospace, chemicals, medical devices, and automotive. High-impact investment projects which cut across sectors, such as renewable energy, smart manufacturing and research and development (R&D) activities will also be targeted and facilitated. YB Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul indicated that MITI will be proposing the creation of a special investment fund to attract more high-value-added investments through the Budget 2023, which will be presented again to the Parliament.
Sustainability To The Fore
Sustainability will continue to be an important agenda for MITI and MIDA. By aligning with sustainability and Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles, companies in Malaysia, particularly local MSMEs will be able to comply with international trade standards and laws, which will help them integrate further into the global supply chain and export their products and services to a wider market. To facilitate the ESG transition of Malaysia’s industry players, MITI, supported by MIDA, is currently developing an “ESG Framework for the Manufacturing Sector” to guide companies in adopting and reporting their ESG practices. Moving forward, MIDA will integrate sustainability principles in its investment development initiatives, including vendor development and capacity-building programmes for local companies, as well as talent matching and development programmes for Malaysians. MIDA will also gear funding opportunities and incentives towards investment projects which align with sustainability principles and outcomes, as the agency embarks on its 2023 plans and goals.