Malaysia seeks to entice Japanese investors

During a recent visit to Tokyo, Malaysia’s trade minister called for further investment into the Southeast Asian country, which is celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Japan this year.

In a seminar titled “Business opportunities in Malaysia” on April 12 at the Hotel New Otani, Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed said his country is very well suited as an investment destination, citing various incentives, including political stability, strong economic fundamentals and solid infrastructure.

He stressed that companies can move into Malaysia, using it as a base for key strategic functions such as treasury management, procurement and operational headquarters for business in Southeast Asia.

The minister said they could expect “excellent facilitation” from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority and support by other agencies.

According to his presentation, opportunities ideal for Japanese companies lie in manufacturing and services. They include the areas of electronics, halal food, chemicals, medical devices, machinery and equipment, halal logistics services, tourism, healthcare, e-commerce information and communication technology services and creative content such as games and animation.

Meanwhile, the minister also noted that the Digital Free Trade Zone that was launched in Malaysia, the first of its kind in the world, aims to nearly double e-commerce growth to 20.8 percent from 10.8 percent by 2020.

About 60 people from Malaysia’s various federal and state investment promotion agencies, as well as private businesses, attended the seminar, which saw about 600 Japanese participants.

The minister said Japan was Malaysia’s fourth-largest trading partner in 2016, while his country was 10th-largest trading partner for Japan. From 1980 to 2016, total investment from Japan in the manufacturing sector reached $33.3 billion, according to his presentation.

On people-to-people exchanges, his presentation showed that about 413,000 tourists from Japan visited the country, while some 394,000 people from Malaysia traveled to Japan in 2016. Under the Look East Policy, around 16,000 Malaysians have acquired knowledge, skills and experience in Japan since 1982.