KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 28): Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said foreign investors, including Fortune 500 companies, have continued to show interest in investing in Malaysia due to various incentives offered by the government.

“We offer special incentives. This is our way to attract investors. So for me, it is important that we increase investment. If you come to Malaysia, you will get very attractive incentives.

“So, this is what I think is our way to attract investors. So for me, it is important that we increase investment, but set our eyes on (certain) sectors such as high technology and digital,” he said.

Muhyiddin said this in a special interview conducted by Bernama and several media organisations with him in conjunction with his first anniversary as the prime minister at his residence in Bukit Damansara here.

The prime minister recently launched the MyDIGITAL Initiative, executed via the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint, which is aimed at accelerating the country’s transformation into a technologically advanced economy by 2030 by, among others, improving digital literacy, creating high-income jobs, and making banking and finance business easier.

On top of that, the government announced several tax incentives under the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) to boost investment activity, including a 10-15 year tax exemption for new foreign direct investment in the manufacturing sector with capital investment of RM300 million or more.

Specific initiatives implemented include the setting up of the Project Acceleration and Coordination Unit (PACU) and various online platforms such as i-Incentive have also expedited the realisation of investments.

Muhyiddin said according to the latest data, Malaysia received a total of RM109.8 billion in new investments in the economic sector, including manufacturing and services, for the first nine months of 2020.

“During the period, there were 2,935 projects involved, with 64,701 jobs created,” he said.

He said the manufacturing sector attracted most of the approved investments for the period, accounting for more than half at 59.5% of RM65.3 billion investments, followed by services and other primary sectors.

Muhyiddin said the government is not worried about its pro-business policies to encourage the investment sector to grow in the future, what is more, some local companies are seen to be competitive in expanding their business abroad.

In addition, the government has also decided to encourage domestic investment.

“Companies that have already existed in Malaysia, especially Malaysian companies, have become multinational companies, some have gone abroad as well. So, we want them to continue to expand by reinvesting in the country,” the Prime Minister said.

To date, the accumulated amount of the country stimulus packages is worth RM320 billion or equivalent to 20.4% of the gross domestic product.

“But (more) importantly, at this juncture we have reopened the economy and we believe we cannot impose a clampdown. Maybe the tourism sector has not recovered as we had wanted, that we have to see.

“InsyaAllah (God willing), next month I will announce a comprehensive strategy, I just discussed this with the finance minister. I will announce what the real strategy is, so that we can get out of the current problem faster and our economy will become more vibrant.

“Just wait, I will announce that, maybe in the middle of March,” the prime minister said.