Malaysia is expecting about RM1bil in foreign direct investment (FDI) from China this year, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said.
Up to November last year, the FDI approved for the manufacturing sector from China to Malaysia was RM1.5bil, 7.8% from the total RM19.1bil FDI approved for the sector for the same period, said Mustapa.
“We are hoping for more investments from China with the development of the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) in Gebeng, Kuantan,” he said at a briefing on the park.
Mustapa revealed that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will officiate at the groundbreaking ceremony for MCKIP scheduled for Feb 5. He expects the park to be fully developed within two years.
He added that this was the first industrial park to be jointly developed by both Malaysia and China and the project is expected to take the two countries' bilateral and trade ties to greater heights.
MCKIP was mooted in response to the China-Malaysia Qingzhou Industrial Park (CMQIP) in Qingzhou, China, which has been accorded national-level status by the Chinese State Council.
“Gross development cost for the MCKIP site is almost RM1.5bil, which will include the infrastructure cost. We expect it to create 5,500 jobs and RM7.5bil in total investment value in 2020,” Mustapa said.
He also said that the MCKIP project was timely, as Malaysia-China ties were currently at an all-time high.
“China has been Malaysia's biggest trade partner since 2011, surpassing Singapore. For the first 11 months of 2012, the total trade between Malaysia and China was at RM165.32bil, 9% higher than the same period in 2011,” he said.
On whether the much-talked-about Lynas rare earth refinery that was located near the MCKIP site would affect the project, Mustapa said China investors had never raised the issue and were showing keen and sustained interest to continue investing in MCKIP, contributed in part by its strategic location.
The estimated shipping time from Kuantan Port to Qinzhou Port, for instance, is three to four days, while a time span of between four and eight days has been set for other Chinese ports.
MCKIP, strategically located for investors in Asean, Asia-Pacific and the Far East, is seen to be an economic catalyst for the East Coast Economic Region or ECER Special Economic Zone.
The industries targeted for the site include the manufacture of equipment for plastics and metal, automotive components, fibre cement boards, stainless steel products, palm oil processing, carbon fibre, electric and electronic, petrochemical, information and communications technology, and research and development.