FDIs spiked 250pc in 2018, says finance minister

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng tables Budget 2019 at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur November 2, 2018.― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng tables Budget 2019 at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur November 2, 2018.― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 — Approved foreign direct investments (FDIs) rose about 250 per cent in the first nine months of the year, which Lim Guan Eng said signalled a return of investor confidence after Pakatan Harapan won the 2018 election.

The finance minister explained that numbers released by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) showed FDIs in the manufacturing sector increased to RM49 billion for the period of January to September 2018, from RM14 billion in the same period last year.

Lim said approved FDIs from China led the way at 32 per cent of the total investment value, followed by Indonesia at 18.4 per cent and the Netherlands at 17.0 per cent.

“FDIs from USA (6.4 per cent), Korea (5.0 per cent), Japan (4.3 per cent) and Singapore (2.5 per cent) were also approved from January to September 2018,” said Lim in a statement today.

The statement also included how FDIs in the manufacturing sector spiked some 379 per cent for the months of May to September this year as compared to the same period last year.

“This demonstrates that foreign investors’ confidence in Malaysia is resurgent, with a RM27.7 billion or 379 per cent hike in the said figures, after the peaceful transition of power that took place on May 9, 2018,” said Lim.

Recently, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak questioned the validity of Lim’s claims that FDIs had spiked as much as the numbers had suggested.

Najib claimed that the value of FDIs into the local market had instead dipped for the first nine months of this year when compared to 2017, in total contrast to Lim’s revelations.

Lim’s statement then sought to explain the claims brought forward by Najib, as he detailed that the figures mentioned by the former prime minister were referring to the FDIs in realised values as found in the Balance of Payments documents.

“It is a lagged indicator, which means that the low and falling figures reflect the past efforts to attract FDI carried out before the change of power took place.

“Unlike figures cited by Datuk Seri Najib, the RM49 billion approved manufacturing FDI statistics from MIDA are forward-looking in nature, in terms of potential investment and confined to the manufacturing sector only,” Lim explained in the statement.

Lim then added that the rise in figures was a positive indicator for the country’s potential economic growth, saying the Pakatan Harapan government would not yield in their efforts to attract high quality FDIs into the local economy.

“The government will press on its efforts to attract high quality FDI to provide well-paying jobs and career growth opportunities for Malaysians and business opportunities for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as part of the larger vendor development ecosystem.

“At the same time, the government will continue to work with existing companies to ensure that their approved projects are smoothly implemented and executed,” said Lim.

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