Greater Kuala Lumpur, The Regional Headquarters Location For Multinational Companies In Asia

InvestKL confident of attracting MNCs

Investment agency says can get at least 10 multinational companies.
PETALING JAYA: InvestKL is confident it can attract at least 10 multinational companies (MNCs) into the country this year, a feat that would surpass the investment promotion agency’s target of cumulatively bringing in
100 foreign investors to Malaysia by 2020.

From 2011 to 2019, InvestKL’s record stood at 91 MNCs, bringing in total investments worth RM13.95bil and  creating 12,500 jobs, chief executive officer Muhammad Azmi Zulkifli said.

“Last year was one of our best years in terms of performance. We brought in 13 MNCs, accounting for RM2.3bil in investments and creating 890 high value jobs and this was on the back of a strong economic cycle. We saw a very good representation of companies from Europe, US and Asia. That’s very encouraging and we will be building on the momentum of 2019,” he told StarBiz.

Azmi said the “strong momentum” of 2019 was evidenced in early 2020. “Fast forward to today, we are going
through a pandemic - an unprecedented one.

“But are we still optimistic of attracting 10 MNCs this year? Yes, we are."

“With 10 companies, it will bring our accumulated MNCs to 101. We believe we can achieve it because a  number of discussions are still carrying forward from some years back.”

Muhammad Azmi noted that discussions with foreign investors could take “several years” before coming into fruition.

“Even during the movement control order (MCO) these discussions, as well as engagements with MNCs, are still continuing and a number of them are saying that they’re going ahead with their plans. So that’s why we’re
optimistic.”

InvestKL is an investment promotion agency under the International Trade and Industry Ministry. It is tasked to attract large global multinationals to establish regional business services headquarters in Greater Kuala Lumpur and strategically grow their business in Asia.

Separately, Azmi said the various initiatives granted by the government in the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA), announced on June 5, was timely.

“The stimulus is timely to really put Malaysia out there; to signify that we are interested and that we want you to come into Malaysia and perhaps look at some activities that you can relocate into Malaysia.

“At the same time, it also helps to stimulate the economy for local companies that want to expand, reengineer their activities or even repurpose their plants.”

Azmi acknowledged that while the Penjana initiatives were focused a bit more on the manufacturing sectors, it would still bode well for agencies such as InvestKL in attracting foreign investors.

“The initiatives ensure that Malaysia continues to attract the right type of manufacturing activities."

“We embarked on the Industry 4.0 initiative back in 2018 and we must continue to stay on track in that perspective."

“That’s because the facets of industry 4.0 includes automation and Internet of Things, which caters to the higher knowledge-based, skilled workers that Malaysia has."

“With Penjana, the government is consistent in ensuring that we are helping businesses, helping the people and also making sure that cash is in the hand of the people to stimulate the economy as a way forward.”

To tackle the rise in COVID-19 infections in the country, the government implemented the MCO on March 18. On May 4, a conditional MCO was enforced to allow businesses to re-open for the economy to recover.

As the number of infections started to drop, Malaysia entered into a recovery MCO phase from June 10 to Aug 31.

Muhammad Azmi said one of the plus points coming out of the pandemic and the MCO is that companies and even the government have accelerated their digitalisation activities.
Malaysia must continue to build on digital path
“It really sets a path that post COVID-19, we are on this digitalisation track and we must continue to thrive on that particular track."

“Maybe it’s taken for granted, but we are at a good stage of the digitalisation phase, simply because Malaysia built a lot of infrastructure, especially in the case of broadband access and connectivity.

“So now it is really paying fruit that the investments on infrastructure and people are where the current  applications and the activities can be accelerated as a way forward,” he added.

Coming out of the MCO, Muhammad Azmi said Malaysia has done well in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and “should not be shy” in sharing this story with the world.

“We have been quoted as having one of the best medical facilities in the world and this is from the exemplary work done by our civil servants, especially the Health Ministry and that I feel is a fantastic story that we must tell
and share with the world.

“Simply because it was about everyone coming together and playing a role in flattening the curve, and we did that, we did flatten the curve.”

In achieving this, Muhammad Azmi said Malaysia needs to look at the good work done by sectors other than the medical fraternity.

“We must look at the sectors supporting the medical fraternity - the logistics sector, the gas that needs to be produced and supplied to the hospital, the packaging, the plastics manufacturer that had to also come in,
the food and beverage players that had to put in their best efforts in ensuring consistent supplies.

“It was the whole eco-system that needs to be showcased in how we dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Muhammad Azmi emphasised that sharing this story with the world exemplified Malaysia as having strong fundamentals, especially to potential investors."

“It shows that we are a matured country. “Yes, we are an emerging economy but compared to a developed nation and how they reacted during the COVID-19 situation, it’s two very different extremes."

“Perhaps South-East Asia will be the first region in the world to step out of the pandemic. Slowly but surely."

“This is important and critical because it demonstrates to the world that prior to the pandemic, there was already a lot of interest in South-East Asia."

“Once we have overcome the pandemic, I believe there will be an increase in interest in this region,” he said.
Source: Star Biz