The Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, embarked on a two-day official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 5 to 6 October 2023 to enhance bilateral relations and explore avenues of cooperation between Malaysia and the UAE.
Accompanied by the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI), YB Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Aziz, and Foreign Minister, YB Senator Dato’ Seri Diraja Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir, the delegation included key figures such as Datuk Wira Arham Abdul Rahman, CEO of MIDA.
Set against the backdrop of historical ties, shared affinities, and an existing economic relationship, the visit strategically positioned Malaysia as an attractive destination for foreign investment; with a specific focus on attracting investments from the UAE’s prominent companies. The mission deemed a success, achieved its goal to foster bilateral investment, benefiting both nations.
MIDA, as the government’s principal investment promotion agency under MITI, assumed a vital role during this visit.
As of June 2023, MIDA’s efforts resulted in the approval of 44 manufacturing projects with Emiratis participation, valued at RM6.19 billion. These initiatives are poised to generate over 4,500 job opportunities, with 33 projects, amounting to RM1.48 billion, successfully implemented. Spanning diverse sectors, these implemented projects encompass machinery and equipment; halal pharmaceutical; scientific and measuring equipment; food manufacturing; wood and wood products; chemicals and chemical products; rubber products; plastic products; furniture and fixture; and non-metallic minerals products.
A pivotal gathering at the Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi, on 5 October 2023, the roundtable meeting organised by MIDA and supported by MATRADE drew an overwhelming response. Attended by 40 representatives from 21 companies, government agencies, and business chambers, it provided a platform for CEOs to engage directly with the Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Malaysia’s economic agenda and development.
Highlighting the significance of the event, H.E Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE’s State Minister for Foreign Trade, actively participated, underscoring the positive trajectory of the economic relationship between Malaysia and the UAE. The participation of key entities such as Taqa, Masdar, ADNOC, Al Dahra, Lulu, ADGM, DP World, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry showcased the robust engagement of both nations.
The Prime Minister took the opportunity to elucidate his economic aspiration, spotlighting the National Energy Transfer Roadmap (NETR) and New Industrial Master Plan (NIMP) 2030 within the MADANI Economy framework. The session also shed light on the Malaysian Government’s ongoing efforts to attract foreign investors by streamlining bureaucratic processes, emphasising Malaysia’s commitment to improving the ease of doing business.
As the roundtable reached its conclusion, it resonated with a clear message – Malaysia’s appeal to industry giants like Tesla, Infineon, and Geely is rooted in the nation’s stable environment and commitment to business-friendly policies.
Another key component of the visit programme involved MIDA, with support from the Malaysia Embassy in the UAE, orchestrating exclusive one-to-one meetings with potential investors from influential Emiratis companies. Investors delved into insights about Malaysia’s dynamic advantages—a progressive nation boasting a robust economy at the heart of Southeast Asia. The strategic location, complemented by well-established infrastructure, presented an enticing proposition for cost-effective business operations and promising returns on investments.
Highlighting the extensive network of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), Malaysia presented an alluring opportunity for these companies to tap into a potential global market of 4.0 billion people. The success of these meetings was evident as prominent entities, including Masdar, the largest UAE sustainable and renewable company, and ADIA, the world’s third-largest sovereign wealth fund, promptly visited Malaysia from 23 October to 1 November 2023. MIDA’s seamless coordination ensured fruitful engagements with ministers, high-level government officials, and potential partners, reinforcing their confidence in Malaysia’s economic growth.
A defining moment unfolded with the MOU signing between MIDA and Masdar. On 6 October 2023, in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim and esteemed officials witnessed outlining Masdar’s commitment to invest RM37.8 billion in developing a 10GW renewable energy facility in Malaysia. The MOU signifies a significant stride towards sustainable development, with MIDA facilitating the implementation.
In a highly impactful 36-hour working visit to Abu Dhabi, the Prime Minister spearheaded a compact Malaysian delegation, emphasising the nation’s commitment to foreign direct investment (FDI). The UAE’s warm reception, marked by an audience with the UAE President, H.H Sheikh Mohamad Zayed Al Nahyan, on the first day.
Numerous ministers, sovereign wealth funds, and prominent companies, including Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala), Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company (ADQ), Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), International Holding Company (IHC), and G42, expressed keen interest in exploring Malaysia as an investment destination.
The success of the visit, endorsed by positive remarks from the UAE’s leadership and business community, reaffirms Malaysia’s status as a progressive and esteemed investment hub. The clarity of Malaysia’s economic direction under the MADANI Economy Framework resonated well, with concrete impacts expected in the next 3-6 months through planned visits and venture signings. MIDA stands poised to facilitate and assist companies in implementing their investment plans in Malaysia.