KUALA LUMPUR: Developed and developing countries must join hands at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels to embark on the long journey to achieve sustainable development in the long run, said Minister of International Trade and Industry Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.
The joint efforts by countries worldwide would help address economic and social challenges and prepare for a better future, he said.
“We need to redouble our efforts to make even greater progress in achieving a new global economy that is premised on the principles of sustainability, inclusion and resilience,” he said in his address at the Voice of the Global South Summit held virtually Friday.
The summit was hosted by India, which is the current Group of 20 inter-governmental forum chair.
Tengku Zafrul said this year is predicted to be a tougher year for the global economy as the world is still grappling with the pandemic and steep challenges, shaped by the lingering effects of far-from-over geopolitical frictions, cost-of-living crisis caused by persistent inflationary pressures, and potential slowdown or even recession in some of the major economies.
Noting this, the minister said Malaysia as a trading nation would continue to ensure trade and investment remain a key driver to sustain its growth trajectory, restore investors’ confidence to increase foreign direct investments, and continue its commitment in the rules-based multilateral trading system.
“Malaysia will continue to engage constructively at the regional and multilateral fora as well as remain open to actively pursue free trade agreements and economic cooperation, which would bring tangible benefits to the participating countries,“ he said, adding the country is investing in sustainability and green economy.
“As expectations around sustainability and green agenda escalate, Malaysia too is feeling the brunt of significant pressure to prove its sustainability credentials and continue to make them a central part of its value proposition.
“To this end, the government has made a conscious commitment to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability by synchronising our economic development with the global environmental, social and governance (ESG) trend,” he said.
Malaysia’s National Investment Policy, which was launched last year, has been designed with ESG principles at its core.
In this vein, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is currently spearheading the formulation of the National Framework on Industry ESG for the manufacturing sector, with an emphasis on small and medium enterprises to assist them to comply with ESG principles.