Malaysia’s foreign direct investment (FDI) for the first nine months this year has surpassed the figure recorded in 2010, according to International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
“Based on current trends (in light of the economic concerns in Europe and the United States), FDI for the first three quarters will exceed the US$9.1bil (RM29.3bil) achieved for the whole of last year,” he said at the Malaysia-Singapore Business Forum 2011 yesterday.
Mustapa said the FDI figure for the first three quarters of 2011 would be revealed soon.
On the outlook for 2012, he said: “Next year, it’s unknown. But with good growth in China, India and Asean, the prospects look good for Malaysia.”
FDI surged to RM21.3bil in the first six months of 2011 compared with RM12.1bil in the previous corresponding period.
The Government had targeted total FDI to hit US$10bil (RM32bil) this year.
Separately, Mustapa encouraged Singaporean companies to tap opportunities in Malaysia in areas such as the east coast.
“Don’t just look at Iskandar (Malaysia) but also areas where Singapore is under-represented, such as the east coast or Sabah and Sarawak.”
He encouraged Singaporean companies to invest in the local services sector and high-end electronics.
Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said one viable sector that Malaysia and Singapore could benefit from was in “cruise tourism”.
He said the cruise business in Europe and the United States was huge and that it should be replicated by both Malaysia and Singapore.
Lim also advised Singaporean companies to keep abreast of developments in Malaysia, which he said had been “moving fast” of late.
“Singaporean companies should take advantage of this,” he said, adding that Malaysia and Singapore should find ways to complement and compete with each other in ways that would benefit both nations.
Singapore is Malaysia’s largest trading partner. From January to September 2011, trade between the two countries grew 20.5% to RM120.06bil from RM107.22bil a year earlier.
On another note, Mustapa said the Government would embark on a second pre-feasibility study on the viability of the proposed Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail system.
He said the first study, “Pre-feasibility 1A,” was concluded in September while the second study, “Pre-feasibility 1B,” would begin next year and could take eight to nine months to complete.
The Malaysia-Singapore Business Forum 2011 was hosted by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and was co-organised by the Singapore Business Federation and International Enterprise Singapore.
Themed “Enhancing Strategic Partnership,” the event was attended by over 700 participants.
It featured a panel discussion with speakers including Mustapa, Lim, Singapore Business Foundation chairman Tony Chew, Singapore Aerospace Manufacturing Pte Ltd senior vice-president for corporate development Oh Chong Ho, YCH Group Ltd chief executive officer Robert Yap and Malaysia-Singapore Business Council representative Datuk Ghazali Yusoff.
The panel discussion was moderated by former CNN and CNBC personality Lorraine Hahn.