Ahmad Maslan dismisses notion that Malaysian companies not capable of investing abroad

KUALA LUMPUR: Many people have the notion that Malaysian companies are not capable of investing abroad or being global investors, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said.

On the contrary, he said Malaysian companies had been actively investing overseas and in fact, the investment figure was even bigger than foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows.

"When we get FDIs from China, some people claimed that Malaysia is being colonised, but when we are investing in a big way abroad no one says that we are exploiting a particular country economically," he told reporters after attending the

"The High Impact Programme 5: Medical Devices (HIP5)" pitching session organised by SME Corporation Malaysia Bhd here today.

He was commenting on the negative picture painted by the opposition over Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's recent visit to Washington DC.

During a delegation meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House, the Prime Minister said the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) and Khazanah Nasional Bhd planned to increase their investments in the US, while Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB) would purchase a number of Boeing aircraft in pursuing its recovery path.

Ahmad Maslan said Petronas, Khazanah, Maybank, CIMB, Axiata and UEM had been investing heavily overseas.

Citing the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and the Department of Statistics' data, he said Malaysian companies had invested RM601.6 billion, which exceeded FDI inflows of RM500.2 billion, as at the third quarter of 2015.

As at the end of the second quarter of this year, he said Malaysian companies' direct investment abroad stood at RM573.5 billion, which was still higher than the FDI inflows of RM556.7 billion.

Ahmad Maslan said the EPF and Khazanah's move was in line with their investment diversification programme to maximise returns, which would ultimately translate into higher dividends for their stakeholders and contributors, respectively.
"As Malaysian companies are investing abroad, the people are benefitting from the corporate tax that these companies pay as they make profits, which inevitably contributes to the government's revenue," he said.

The purchase of Boeing aircraft by MAB will make the national carrier more competitive, he said, adding that, "When MAB makes profits, the people benefit from it while the country is held in high esteem."

On the pitching session, Ahmad Maslan said the US$1.4 billion (US$1=RM4.19) medical device market in Malaysia was the largest in the Asean region.

The majority of the medical devices manufactured in Malaysia are bound for the US, which accounted for 40% of the export market, while the rest to Asean and West Asian countries, he said, adding that currently, 19 companies were involved in the HIP5 programme, of which 10 are Tier 1 companies while the rest in Tier 2. — Bernama