KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16- Malaysia’s investment prospects remain bright despite the unexciting global economic growth, says Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI).
Its President, Datuk Wira Jalilah Baba said investments in Malaysia were still encouraging on the back of a stable gross domestic product.
“Malaysia is still attractive, according to the (Global) Competitive Report. We are still among the top countries and a top choice in ASEAN, as well as being investor-friendly,” she told reporters at the 4th Industrial Revolution Conference, here today.
On the economic challenges, she noted that with US president-elect Donald Trump taking office on Jan 20, businesses could expect policy changes as he had asked American companies abroad to relocate to the US.
Jalilah said Malaysia was still competitive although some US companies appeared to be taking heed of Trump’s promises and warning.
“I think for these companies, there will be challenges because businesses need to be in the location of (where they are) doing business, where there is growth.
“And currently Asia, ASEAN is a major growth centre in the world, so foreign investors cannot avoid being here,” she said.
Jalilah said if American companies were to pack and head back to the US, they would be saddled with logistics costs, a sudden rise in costs of doing business despite all the incentives offered to them.
“In the long term there will be high cost of doing business in many aspects such labour, mechanisation, transportation and logistics, and penetrating into faraway markets is not that viable, easier said than done,” said.
Jalilah said she felt that American investors were staying put, regardless of the urge to relocate their investments to the US.
She said perhaps these companies would rather open a branch or set up high-tech manufacturing facilities to cut down labour for their domestic market.
“If they’re already global players where their markets are here, it’s impossible for them to go back, it’s going to kill them,” she said.
On Trump’s warning of consequences for companies leaving the US, Jalilah said it was an unfriendly measure to penalise American investors as globalisation encouraged businesses to get closer to customers to save costs.
On the rise of China’s investments in Malaysia, she said it augured well for Malaysia as it brought knowledge and skills to the local businesses and workforce.