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Malaysia is business friendly and welcomes FDI

KUALA LUMPUR (May 15)- Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia is business friendly and welcomes foreign direct investments (FDI) from all over the world, including China.

However, he had a different definition of FDI compared with the previous government.

“FDI means bringing in capital and technology and setting up plants in Malaysia and (bringing) employees up to the level of executives, with products being either for the Malaysian market or export,” he said in a video conference with The Wall Street Journal CEO Council Meeting in Tokyo today.

To a question on the threat of a possible trade war between the United States and China, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia wanted the world to be at peace without any confrontation between countries which would affect the markets.

Restrictions, sanctions and the likes of them as a consequence of a trade war will not be good for Malaysia as a trading nation, he said.

He also highlighted the need to consider the strengths and weaknesses of countries when coming up with the idea of a globalised world.

“You can’t have weak countries competing with powerful countries. In a globalised world, we should have access to all countries. But, we should also consider the strength of these countries and avail to them some degree of protection,” he said.

On whether Malaysia would be a very open economy or anticipates taking a different path, Dr Mahathir said it would depend on the situation, but as of now, there was no need for capital control unless people started fiddling with the currency value and depressing it.

“We want to be an open economy, we welcome foreign capital and we want to trade with the whole world. We want to be friendly with all countries of the world and we are business friendly,” he added.

Economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram, who is also a member of the Council of Eminent Persons, said after the country's independence in 1957, the Malaysian government had always invited FDIs.

He said Malaysia appreciated investments that contributed to the country's progress, such as 5G telecommunications, artificial intelligence applications, financial technologies, renewable energy, new medicines and electric vehicles.

"The new government clearly favours productive industrial investments, especially with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's commitment to accelerate Malaysian technological progress," he said in a letter to the Financial Times.

​Source: The Edge