Malaysia has made history by securing a record investment commitment of RM170 billion from China.
This is the largest investment commitment from China to Malaysia so far, made through 19 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) between Chinese and Malaysian businesses.
On his three-day visit to deepen the strategic bilateral political and trade relationship with China, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim urged Chinese investors and business leaders to leverage the strong bilateral ties and seize the vast opportunities being offered by the current government to invest in Malaysia.
“This is historic. It is good for Malaysia and the future,” he said when announcing the news at the Malaysia-China Business Forum, attended by more than 1,000 business leaders from both countries in Beijing on Saturday (1 April).
“I assure you that under my watch, we will ensure that the ease of doing business and undertaking investments in Malaysia will be at the optimal level.
“So, build more partnerships with Malaysian companies, particularly in strategic sectors to advance deeper interlinkages,” he said.
Anwar, who is also the Finance Minister, stated that Malaysia’s position as a preferred investment destination has been solidified further with renowned Chinese companies such as Risen Energy, Huawei, Longi Solar, Bytedance, Jinko Solar, EVE Energy, Alliance Steel, Alibaba Group, Geely Auto Group, Xiamen University, and others investing in strategic areas.
Anwar stated that Malaysia plans to deepen its cooperation with China in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and expand economic cooperation in new growth areas such as the green and digital economy.
The country will also work with other ASEAN member states to ensure that the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) benefits all parties involved.
BERNAMA, the Malaysia National News Agency reported that Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir, Transport Minister Anthony Loke, Local Government Development Minister Nga Kor Ming, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Chang Lih Kang, and Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing were among the ministers in Anwar’s delegation to China.
Automotive high-technology valley in Tanjung Malim among the noteworthy MoU
The exchange of 19 MoUs included several notable agreements such as a heads agreement between DRB-Hicom Bhd and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co, Ltd on a proposed joint venture on the development and commercialisation of an automotive high-technology valley in Tanjung Malim, Perak for new energy vehicles.
Another noteworthy MoU was signed between the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia and the China Chamber of Commerce for import and export of machinery and electronic products.
In addition to these, other MoUs were sealed between Digital Way Group Sdn Bhd, China Silk Road Group Ltd, and China Kairous Capital to jointly establish a Malaysia-China digital and development fund in China and Malaysia.
Another MoU was signed on a proposed development of a waste-to-energy plant in Malaysia.
Mr Anwar said in his Facebook post on his earlier meeting with President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, stated that President Xi invited Malaysia to join in developing a strong and skilled civilization while rejecting the Cold War mentality by not treating any country as a chess piece.
“We both agreed to shape a new direction in Malaysia-China relations and to further strengthen cooperation between the two friendly countries. ”
“I also discussed the efforts, steps, and strategies taken by President Xi and the Chinese government in addressing and unraveling poverty issues in China, which have now borne fruit as almost 800 million people have been freed from poverty in China.”
He added that President Xi touched on the concept of Malaysia MADANI, which is in line with Xi’s desire to share prosperity and national development, as well as emphasizing aspects of humanity and civilization development.
China remained Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years
China remained Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years, with total trade of US$110.6 billion (RM488 billion) in 2022.
On the investment front, China was the biggest foreign direct investor in Malaysia last year, with investments amounting to US$12.5 billion (RM55.16 billion).
According to statistics from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, total exports to China increased 9.4 per cent to RM210.62 billion (US$47.84 billion) in 2022, while total imports from China stood at RM276.50 billion (US$62.78 billion) in the same year, or an increase of 20.7 per cent compared to the previous year.
Unity Governent will prioritise building stronger bilateral relations with China, says Anwar
At a bilateral meeting on 1 April with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, PM Anwar said his administration will prioritise building stronger bilateral relations with China, and reiterated that Malaysia government will support the ‘One China Policy’.
However, while Mr Anwar said Malaysia does not see China as a competitor nor a threat, he stressed that the country will not allow any big power to dictate its decision and future direction, and further reminded that ASEAN should maintain the same position as ASEAN was set up as a free and neutral zone.