KUALA LUMPUR: Companies from China are confident of Malaysia’s unity government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim due to his openness to Chinese investments and a 20% increase in trade between the two countries is expected this year compared with 2022, according to the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC).
MCCC not only expects a jump in Chinese investments but also in the number of Chinese tourists coming to Malaysia.
SunBiz spoke to MCCC president Loo Kok Seong (above), secretary-general cum chairman of management committee Tan In Fong and vice-president Datuk Joseph Lim after MCCC’s Lunar New Year celebration at Chinese Assembly Hall on Saturday.
“We expect there will be more factories moving to Malaysia from China and this will accommodate the supply chain for the RCEP,” said Lim, referring to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
On the unity government under the leadership of Anwar, Lim said feedback MCCC received from businessmen in China is positive and they are confident of his governance due to the premier’s decision not to cut any existing contracts with China such as the East Coast Rail Link and Two Countries, Twin Parks.
“Ever since Anwar became the prime minister, he has not said anything bad about China investments. He has been to the (China) embassy and the Chinese ambassador paid a visit to him last month.
“From the business world, we understand. Not even one project was cut, everything continued. This way, it paints a good picture to the China government ... they come to invest in Malaysia and they want to make sure that once they commit, the investments coming in ... that they won’t be suddenly stopped,” Tan said.
He added that should Anwar visit China (which is speculated to be in April), it would bring more investments from China to Malaysia.
On outlook, Tan said MCCC is optimistic about the local economy this year and hopes it will continue to improve under the leadership of Anwar.
“The economy is improving, this is important for Malaysia. From our side, we hope our prime minister will help stabilise the government, then the economy will continue to improve,” remarked Loo.
MCCC said sectors that are expected to benefit from China’s reopening are high technology, education and tourism.
On MCCC’s wishlist for the revised Budget 2023 which will be tabled next month, Tan said they hope the government will consider tax exemption for SMEs as well as reducing the import tax.
Meanwhile, the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia, Ouyang Yujing, who was present at the event, said China will continue to encourage its enterprises to increase investments in Malaysia to help boost its economy and upgrade its industrial structure. He reckoned that business groups coming to Malaysia in 2023 will surpass pre-Covid pandemic levels.
“It is expected that there will be more people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in various fields between the two countries after this Spring Festival,” he said.
Ouyang remarked that China and Malaysia should take opportunities to further enhance its diplomatic relations and promote practical cooperation in various fields. “China is willing work with Malaysia to advance our comprehensive strategic partnership to a new height. We should strengthen economic cooperation, encourage science and technology innovation, and deepen all-round cooperation,” he said.
He noted that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Malaysia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership while next year will witness the 50th anniversary of China and Malaysia establishing diplomatic relations.