MALAYSIA FEELS THE SQUEEZE:Approved direct investments down 29.8% in H1

PETALING JAYA – Malaysia’s approved direct investments in services, manufacturing and primary sectors fell RM37.5 billion or 29.8% to RM88.4 billion in the first half of 2016 (H1 2016), against RM125.9 billion in the same period last year.

The Ministry International Trade and Industry (Miti) and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) said in a joint statement yesterday that the better investment performance in H1 2015 was mainly due to two big petrochemical projects approved in the manufacturing sector, namely the Pengerang project in Johor and the LNG9 project in Sarawak.

A total of 2,499 projects were approved in H1 2016 and they are expected to generate more than 76,000 job opportunities.

Nonetheless, minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed stressed that Malaysia continues to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs), with a total of RM28.2 billion approved in H1 2016.

“Our approved foreign investments for H1 2016 have already reached 78.2% of the total foreign investments approved for the whole of last year,” he noted.

Mustapa highlighted that there was continued interest by foreign investors to invest in quality projects in new growth areas and emerging technologies despite the current economic scenario.

“With the strong presence of FDI in the country, we trust that our supply chain ecosystem and related services industry will continue to grow. To complement FDI, Miti/Mida will continue to assist Malaysian companies to strengthen their competencies and bolster their competitive edge,” said Mustapa.

The services sector continued to account for the largest share of total investments for the country, contributing 76.3% or RM67.5 billion, followed by the manufacturing sector with investments of RM19.6 billion or 22.2%, while the primary sector contributed the remaining approved investments of RM1.3 billion or 1.5%.

Mustapa said as at August 2016, Mida has 264 projects in the pipeline with investments worth RM30.8 billion for the manufacturing and services sectors. These projects are mainly in chemical and chemical products, machinery and metal, transportation technology, global establishments and hospitality.

“These projects would potentially provide over 20,000 more jobs for Malaysians. We expect to process these investment proposals by the end of this year,” he added. – Sundaily