SERI KEMBANGAN: Malaysia has become an attractive regional and global investment destination, thanks to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The Transport Minister said that as a geographical link between Asean and the neighbouring countries, Malaysia had become the centre for companies to expand into the RCEP market.
He urged the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) to leverage its advantages under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and RCEP to actively expand business opportunities and bring high-quality investment projects to Malaysia, namely in the high-tech, high-value-added, knowledge and capital-intensive economic sectors.
“With Malaysia transitioning to the endemic phase, we have made good progress in all aspects after actively promoting economic recovery and restarting the tourism industry.
“The government announced the reopening of borders and allowed interstate travel. The demand and sales of domestic and foreign flights have gradually recovered.
“In addition, many countries announced the abolition of entry quarantine policies, which has further promoted the recovery of the aviation industry and tourism industry,” he said in his address at the MCCC’s 13th National Council Inauguration ceremony held here yesterday.
Also present were MCCC president Loo Kok Seong and Chinese Embassy minister counsellor Ma Cui Hong.
Dr Wee said Malaysia-China trade value had increased by 34.5% or US$178.6bil in 2021 compared with the previous year, making China Malaysia’s largest trading partner for the past 13 consecutive years.
He said investments from China currently made up 55.61% or RM48.6bil of all foreign investments in Malaysia, based on investment data from the first half of 2022.
“The friendship between Malaysia and China has a long history. Active exchanges and cooperation have been carried out in political, economic, educational and other levels, with fruitful results.
“During the past two years of the pandemic, Malaysia and China have not only worked together, both bilateral trade volume and investment volume have grown against the trend, demonstrating the huge development potential of economic and trade cooperation and investment between the two countries, especially in the new economic fields such as digital economy, green development,” he added.
He said the MCCC had been committed to playing the role of a bridge between the government and the business community, and fully exerting the function of “governing the situation from the top and leading the situation from the bottom”.
In his speech, Loo said the RCEP was a good first step towards boosting the country’s economic recovery but added that more needed to be done to help small businesses.
He said a more comprehensive strategic plan should be developed to overcome some of the key issues holding back SMEs from fully utilising the benefits of the RCEP.
“The lack of access, limited skills and low digital adoption rates among SMEs negatively affected their ability to use the information and business opportunities from the RCEP.
“Relevant government departments need to initiate activities to educate SMEs on the benefits of international trade agreements like RCEP such as by organising seminars, exchange sessions on RCEP issues and timely dissemination of information to businesses,” he added.