BUTTERWORTH, Feb 11 — Japanese investors are now confident of returning to invest in Malaysia amid the country’s strengthening economy, says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
He said their confidence is based on Malaysia’s handling of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.
“I have just returned from Japan where I met investors, and they said they are confident about Malaysia’s economy and want to return (to invest) in Malaysia. They were previously afraid about coming as they were worried about the 1MDB scandal.
“But after seeing the action taken over the 1MDB scandal, they now want to return to Malaysia,” he told reporters after attending the tossing of a 209.7-metre yee sang in conjunction with the seventh day of Chinese New Year at the Tow Boo Kong temple here tonight.
Lim said Malaysia also hopes to attract investors from other countries including China.
He noted that Malaysia’s economic growth is expected to improve this year based on the 3.1 per cent increase in the country’s Industrial Production Index in 2018 over the preceding year.
“This is an encouraging indicator. It follows the announcement that this year’s exports have broken the record after hitting nearly RM1 trillion, while at the same time the trade surplus has risen 22 per cent from RM98 billion to RM120 billion.
“The inflation rate is also the lowest in nine years at just 1 per cent. All these are good indicators, and we are confident that this year the growth will be better,” he said.
Meanwhile, commenting on the International Monetary Fund’s warning for governments to gear up for a possible economic ‘storm’, he said Malaysia is one of the countries that will benefit in the short term from the trade war between the United States and China.
“In the short term we will benefit, but in the long term, it will of course be different. So we hope this can be sorted out soon, but in the short term, Malaysia will still benefit.
“We have to be prepared for any economic storm, but at the same time we must grasp the opportunity that is available,” he added. — Bernama