Azmin: Malaysia not losing out on foreign investments, just aiming for better offers

Minister of International Trade and Industry (Miti) Datuk Seri Azmin Ali addresses staff during the monthly assembly at Menara Miti, Kuala Lumpur March 10, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Minister of International Trade and Industry (Miti) Datuk Seri Azmin Ali addresses staff during the monthly assembly at Menara Miti, Kuala Lumpur March 10, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali reportedly denied that Malaysia is losing out on foreign investments from multinational corporations (MNCs) to its neighbours.

The Edge Markets reported Azmin saying that Putrajaya is instead employing a more selective investment plan, since it is trying to reduce its dependency on foreign labour while gunning for more quality investments.

“We are now more selective in terms of investments coming into our country. We no longer want labour-intensive industries coming to Malaysia because we do not want to be over-dependent on foreign workers.

“We would like to welcome foreign investments that can create value [for] the local players. We do not want any future investments that are tied to labour intensive [industries], that is not our priority now,” he was quoted as saying.

“They can choose other countries,” he reportedly added.

Azmin also pointed out that the Malaysian Digital Economy Blueprint, when announced last month, showed that the government has conditionally approved several plans from large MNCs including Microsoft, Google and Amazon.

These MNCs, which are also cloud service providers (CSPs), plan to build and manage hyper-scale data centres in Malaysia as well as provide other hybrid cloud services.

The government expects investments from these CSPs to bring in RM12 to 15 billion in revenue over the next half decade.

“So maybe in terms of quantum, the investments [in other neighbouring countries] are seen as better than Malaysia, but in terms of the quality of the investments, I am sure we want quality that can benefit our people.

“To suggest that all these big MNCs including those in the field of technology or IT are moving away or shying away from Malaysia, I don't think that is a correct proposition,” Azmin was quoted as saying.

This comes after several reports earlier this year alleged that Malaysia is losing foreign direct investments (FDIs) at an alarming rate.

This includes the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), which in January, said FDI into Malaysia fell to US$2.5 billion last year — a drop of 68 per cent, the worst in South-east Asia for the year.

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