Last year, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was reinstated as the Prime Minister of Malaysia. The Malaysian government is implementing policies to drive economic growth and encouraging investors to look at the country with a renewed sense of confidence.

Over the past 12 months, Malaysia has undergone a period of increased stability and economic growth through the government’s efforts to work more closely with regional partners, including Japan.

In the early 1980s, Malaysia’s Look East Policy brought the country closer to Japan and successfully stimulated the economy. By 2020, Malaysia aims to become a high-income nation and the government’s Look East Policy 2.0 is further strengthening the country’s ties to Japan.

Look East Policy 2.0 is facilitating access to Japanese capital through “samurai” bonds and providing Malaysia with investment, skilled labor and technologies from Japan.

“Since the new administration came into power, many things have improved here in Malaysia,” said Makio Miyagawa, ambassador of Japan to Malaysia.

“Transparency has been a key policy of the government and this is encouraging foreign direct investment into Malaysia. The new administration has a clear approach to creating confidence in Malaysia and is strengthening the country’s ability to stimulate the economy. In the area of consumption, goods and services taxation has been removed, which has dramatically improved the lives of low-income earners across the country and has increased the population’s disposable income.”

With the prime minister’s numerous trips to Japan following his election, it is clear Malaysia and Japan share a close bond. Japanese and Malaysian companies are working more closely and the country’s business leaders are encouraging investors to reassess Malaysia as an investment destination.

“Confidence in Malaysia’s economy is on the rise and we want to encourage the Japanese business community to reassess the long-term investment opportunities the country has to offer,” said Daiji Kojima, managing director and CEO of Mitsui & Co. Malaysia.

In the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia is a formidable powerhouse economy within the region. The country offers easy access to markets such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Korea and Japan.

“Malaysia is close to becoming a developed nation and continued community development will be key to the country’s future growth,” concluded Miyagawa.

“There is divergence across the Southeast Asian region and this generation has a responsibility to build a prosperous community with shared rules and set standards regarding human rights and environmental challenges. Japan and Malaysia can take a lead in these efforts by working together and helping to create a strong community of people within the region.”