KUALA LUMPUR (April 6): Malaysia is currently undertaking concerted efforts to review its existing policies and restructure its investment strategy to ensure that implementation of high-impact projects can be expedited.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said it is crucial to keep the government investment policies relevant, resilient and responsive to the evolving ecosystem.

“I am pleased to share that Malaysia’s ongoing investment promotion efforts have successfully kept us on the map of investors, including Japanese investors.

“Guided by this aspiration, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is spearheading a holistic reform of Malaysia’s investment agenda,” he said in his welcoming remarks at the online investment forum organised by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) entitled “Malaysia in its Present State” today.

Mohamed Azmin said this new agenda will be premised on the National Investment Aspirations (NIAs), which will navigate Malaysia towards a regional investment hub with a view to increasing economic complexity, creating high-value jobs, extending domestic linkages, developing new and existing clusters, and improving inclusivity.

“Our new investment strategies will provide the necessary impetus to pursue high-technology and sustainable investments as well as to intensify innovation, striking a balance between economic and environmental sustainability while reducing dependency on foreign labour, in line with global environmental, social and governance (ESG) benchmarks,” he said.

He said the government had been building the necessary foundations to transform Malaysia into a regional leader in the digital economy.

Through the recently announced Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, he said Malaysia is expected to be among the first in the region to build a 5G ecosystem using Internet and cloud services in real time.

Indeed, he said, Malaysia will continue to draw lessons from Japan’s vast experience and expertise in automation, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of things.

“With these synergies, I am confident that Malaysian and Japanese businesses could enhance collaboration towards increased adoption of high technology and innovation, smart manufacturing and all matters integral to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0).

Further building on these synergies, he said both parties should also capitalise on existing linkages in order to reinforce its commitment to strengthening Malaysia-Japan commercial and trade trajectories.

“I am confident that we are on the right track as Japanese investments in Malaysia continue to be at the highest point to date, at RM91.4 billion, accounting for a total of 2,761 manufacturing projects, with 348,475 job opportunities created thus far.

“This demonstrates strong confidence and preference to invest in Malaysia. Our trade, while reporting a decrease of 5.3% in tandem with the global economic slowdown in 2020, still signifies the importance of our bilateral relations. I am optimistic that the numbers will soon pick up as we transition into a post-Covid-19 recovery period,” he said.

Mohamed Azmin said Malaysia had always been an open trading nation and preferred investment destination, and will continue to remain so driven by its unique value proposition to investors.

“Therefore, I urge Japanese investors to seize on this unique value proposition, particularly in the high-tech sectors, to consider Malaysia’s lucrative offers and competitive incentives and tax breaks.

“Look at Malaysia as a gateway to the ASEAN market. Furthermore, investors will be able to leverage the opportunities opened up by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which provides a market of three billion people,” he added.