Business confidence in Malaysia still high on growth potential in Asean: StanChart

KUALA LUMPUR: Business confidence in Malaysia remains high on the back of growth potential in the ASEAN region, according to a report by Standard Chartered.

In a report entitled 'Winning in Asean', Standard Chartered found that 64 per cent of business leaders surveyed currently have or plan to have a sales presence in Malaysia over the next three years, indicating a positive outlook on the market.

"In Malaysia, the manufacturing sector continues to play a vital role in the country's economy, which had a total approved investment (foreign and domestic) of US$44 billion (RM195.1 billion) in 2021, an uptick of about 114 per cent from 2020.

"Numerous capital-intensive projects are expected to push the development of advanced manufacturing capabilities and a highly skilled workforce," it said.

It noted that Malaysia has also implemented various key incentives to attract more foreign direct investments (FDIs) into the country for investors to fund strategic activities and products of national importance in approved sectors or areas, such as manufacturing, biotech, training and environmental protection.

Standard Chartered Malaysia chief executive officer (CEO) Mak Joon Nien said ss a well-established export-driven economy, Malaysia's economy is spurred by high technology, knowledge-based and capital-intensive industries.

"A unified effort of Malaysia's government and private sectors will drive change to accelerate the country's ambition to become a technologically advanced economy, bolstering support for high-profile investment projects," said Mak.

As for ASEAN, Standard Chartered noted that the region was the third highest recipient of FDI globally, with inflows of US$174 billion, returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Trade agreements, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), are expected to accelerate growth further.

With the RCEP in place, 81 per cent of business leaders surveyed plan to increase investments in ASEAN over the next three to five years.

Overall, 93 per cent of them expect positive revenue growth from their ASEAN businesses.

Standard Chartered Asia CEO Benjamin Hung said Asean is an oasis of growth, with its gross domestic product forecasted to grow about four per cent annually to US$4.5 trillion by 2030.

"Amidst global complexities, we see structural trends presenting significant opportunities in ASEAN. There is growing interconnectivity in trade and capital flows, strong digital adoption, and an acceleration of the green transition.

"Corporates need to act decisively to capture what ASEAN has to offer today," he said.

Source: NewStraitsTimes

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