KUALA LUMPUR: After seeing a 7.4% drop in approved investments last year, Malaysia is targeting a slight improvement this year to RM200 billion, given RM69.5 billion worth of investments in the pipeline.

Speaking at a media briefing here today on Malaysia’s investment performance last year, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) Datuk Azman Mahmud said the RM69.5 billion consists of manufacturing (RM51.1 billion) and services (RM18.4 billion) investments.

The country’s total approved investments declined 7.4% to RM197.1 billion in 2017 from RM212.9 billion in 2016, due to a fall in the services sector emanating from lower contribution from the real estate subsector.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the real estate subsector declined 28.7% to RM45.7 billion, which led to a 17.2% contraction in the services sector to RM121.1 billion.

However, the number of projects approved in the real estate subsector soared 43.1%, reflecting a change in investment strategies towards smaller projects.

The services sector continued to be the main contributor to approved investments in the country.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing and the primary sectors grew 8.9% and 51.2% to RM63.7 billion and RM12.4 billion in 2017, respectively.

Johor retained top spot with RM21.9 billion of approved investments, representing 34% of total investments in the manufacturing segment, spurred mainly by the Pengerang Integrated Complex.

Overall, the number of projects approved rose 5.8% from 5,166 projects in 2016 to 5,466 projects in 2017, which generated an additional 139,520 job opportunities.

Foreign direct investments (FDI) accounted for 27.8% of total approved investments at RM54.7 billion, while the remaining 72.2% from domestic direct investments at RM142.4 billion.

Despite China being the top FDI source for the past two years, its value of investments went down 18.7%, from RM4.8 billion in 2016 to RM3.9 billion in 2017.

China’s investments have diversified into many industries, including non-metallic mineral products, transport equipment, rubber products and electrical and electronic products.

Looking ahead, Mustapa said Malaysia is aiming to attract more than 12 companies to set up their principal hubs here.

Meanwhile, speaking on the US plan to impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminium, he said Malaysian companies have not been impacted, but the government is closely monitoring developments in the matter.

US President Donald Trump is expected to issue a formal order on the tariffs later this week.

Source: The Sun Daily