Second International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan is optimistic that Malaysia’s total trade could increase to between RM1.5 trillion and RM1.6 trillion this year from RM1.48 trillion last year.
“As of September, we already achieve RM1.3 trillion. With three more months to go, we can easily supercede last year’s figure,” he told reporters after delivering his keynote address at the National Investment Seminar 2017 today.
Ong said, for the January-September period, Malaysia total trade grew by 21.7% with export and import also grew by double digit, 21.3% and 22% respectively.
He said this was largely contributed by the electric and electronic industry which made up 36.4% of exports and 30.2% of imports.
On investment, he said the country continued to attract investment as reflected in the first half of this year which recorded RM65.4 billion approved investment in the services, manufacturing and primary sectors, involving 2,294 projects and would create 61,930 employment opportunities.
“Given Malaysia’s established industrial ecosystems, the country’s broad-based economic structure continues to appeal to both domestic and foreign investors,” he said.
As at September, he said Mida alone has 341 projects in the pipeline with investments worth RM50.9 billion for the manufacturing and services sectors with potential of providing over 18,000 jobs.
Nevertheless, he said the country has been selective in approving the investment by emphasising quality investments in line with the government strategy of making the nation a high-income developed-economy by 2020.
“We get a lot of application but we didn’t accept everything because we want to protect the country’s interest,” he said.
Earlier in his speech, Ong also urged industry players to take advantage of all the facilities and support provided by the government towards ensuring the long term competitiveness of their business.
He said there is still a lack of awareness among the business communities in the facilities and support provided by the government despite the ministry and its agencies including the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) undertaking many outreach programmes.
Mida CEO Datuk Azman Mahmud said in the current challenging environment, Malaysia’s industry players must be creative, innovative, forward-looking and forward-acting while at the same time delivering results to outcompete competitors.
“We aspire for the nation to be a hub of global value chains. In order to achieve this, our industry must stay ahead of the curve by way of embracing advanced technologies and new ways of doing business,” he said.
He added that companies must integrate their products and services as well as investing in upskilling the workforce to be more adaptable to change.
The one-day seminar, organised by Mida, attracted more than 500 industry players representing various sectors from all across Malaysia.