KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — The government has approved a total of RM29.3 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) across all sectors for the first quarter of 2019, Lim Guan Eng announced today.
The finance minister said the approved FDI rose by 73.4 per cent compared to the RM16.9 billion for the same period last year, signalling increased optimism among foreign investors in Malaysia even as markets worldwide remain anxious over the prolonged trade stand-off between the US and China.
The two countries are the world’s first and second biggest economies respectively.
“Malaysia is reaping benefits from business relocation as well as trade and investment diversions caused by the trade war between China and the United States.
“As a result, foreign direct investment (FDI) into Malaysia has increased drastically. Additionally, industrial production growth in April 2019 has accelerated to a 6-month high amid an environment of low and stable inflation,” Lim said in a statement.
He added that the RM29.3 billion is expected to create more than 41,200 jobs for Malaysians, of which 22,970 employment opportunities would be in manufacturing and 18,000 jobs in the services sector.
Lim also said that government data showed Malaysia’s April industrial production to have grown to 4 per cent, exceeding market forecasts.
He attributed the industrial growth to increases in manufacturing and output in mining, both sectors which had been dampened in the previous quarter.
“The 4 per cent April industrial expansion is the strongest in 6 months and it is above market consensus, which was 2.5 per cent according to Bloomberg. In March 2019, industrial production growth of 3.1 per cent also came above market expectations of 2.3 per cent based on a Bloomberg survey,” Lim said, citing reports from financial daily Bloomberg.
The minister noted that the April industrial expansion occurred during a period of low and stable inflation of 0.2 per cent.
He attributed the lower prices of some basic consumer items to several factors, including the shift from the goods and services tax introduced by the previous Barisan Nasional administration to the sales and service tax brought back by the Pakatan Harapan government last year and the cap on retail prices for fuel.
He said the price of some food items had also dropped over the past one year.
“For instance, the average price of lady’s fingers in April 2019 was RM7.30 per kg, which was 25 sen lower than it was a year ago at RM7.55 per kg in April 2018. Average price of beef was RM31.89 per kg, 133 sen cheaper than it was a year ago,” he said.
Lim also commended Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution and the latter’s ministry for managing the price hike matter during the Hari Raya festive season.