Resurgence of ASEAN Economic Tiger

THE Malaysian government have recently sent a delegate to the United States of America for a trade and investment mission, led by the Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Datuk Darell Leiking along with CEO of Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), and CEO of InvestKL.

The week-long mission involves meetings with the White House representatives, US Trade Representative Office, Silicon Valley firms and other potential investors to lay out value propositions for investing in Malaysia as their ASEAN business regional hub.

Malaysia consumer’s price inflation remains one of the lowest amongst SEA countries. Not to mention a staggering Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) increase of 350% in the first 3 quarters of 2018. With the recent 2019 budget crafted to incite economic prosperity through an entrepreneurial economy, the quest for foreign investment remains agile.

This conference spurs value propositions for prospect foreign investors in their investment decision for growth and profitability. Not to mention portraying evident stances towards the government’s policy outlook for their businesses- investors hate uncertainties! And of course, to facilitate their business transition into Malaysia as a regional hub in the ASEAN region.

Bloomberg have recently names Malaysia first as its “Most Attractive Emerging Market in Asia” 2018 scorecard. Other accolades includes 2nd rank of “Ease of Doing Business within ASEAN” by the World Bank in 2019, and 3rd in “Global Offshoring Destination” by A.T Kearney.

Malaysia has so much to offer in the horizon. Initiatives in the pipeline including Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Digital Free Trade Zones (FTZ), to name a few, will soon enough loom the ‘ASEAN Tiger’ into its spotlight.

Amongst the value propositions made by Datuk Zainal Amanshah, CEO of InvestKL to potential investors were: Connectivity, Livability, Policies and Talent Pool. Having already several anchor multinational companies (MNCs) setting up their regional hub in Kuala Lumpur sets the foundation for business connectivity and errands to be ran seamlessly without having to commute half-way across the globe. This ideal proposition leverages on economy of scale, where the business environment can only get better with more businesses joining the hub.

Businesses can also leverage of having not only world’s constitutional banks within proximity, but operation wise, exists 3 top global shipping ports around them- Port Klang, Tanjung Pelepas and Singapore. With entities like MATRADE, MIDA and MDEC available all across the globe, facilitation to enter Malaysian market could not be easier.

One shrewd remark by the minister is how Malaysia sees itself amidst the US-China trade tension- of how we are in a global ecosystem of supply chain, and being part of it, Malaysia has a role to play too (perhaps insignificant, but still relevant). Malaysia also does not wish to benefit from either end of strings being pulled harder, but Malaysia will always be on standby to facilitate business that wish to consolidate their business in a sound political, trade, and investment environment.

United States being Malaysia’s third largest trading partner, have seen a potential continuity in the trend- this mission have projected to generate prospect investments worth North of RM6.5 billion. Despite the screenplay of Brexit and US-China trade tension uncertainties, Malaysia hopes that investors find distinctive values in Malaysia’s emerging market to offset their global investment risks.

Source: Astro Awani