KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has approved RM201.7 billion in investments last year, almost similar to RM200.6 billion in 2017.
International Trade and Industry (Miti) minister Datuk Darell Leiking in a briefing yesterday said domestic direct investments accounted for 60 per cent or RM121.2 billion of the total investments while the remaining 40 per cent is that of foreign source.
He said China, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Japan and the USA were the largest contributors to the manufacturing sector in Malaysia for 2018.
These five countries jointly accounted for 76.4 per cent or RM44.3 billion of the total foreign investments approved during the period.
He was speaking to reporters at Malaysian Investment Development Authority’s (Mida) annual media conference here today.
Also present were Miti Deputy Minister Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Miti deputy secretary-general Datuk Seri Norazman Ayob and Mida chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud.
Of the total RM201.7 billion, manufacturing sector contributed RM87.4 billion, 37.2 per cent higher than RM63.7 billion in 2017, as new projects attracted higher levels of foreign investments.
In 2018, Mida approved 4,103 projects amounting to RM103.4 billion in the services sector.
The balance of RM10.9 billion was invested in the primary sector. This was 12.2 per cent lower than RM12.4 billion in 2017, largely due to lower investments in oil and gas industry.
Mida approved RM32.9 billion in investments of petroleum and petrochemicals. This made up the lion’s share of manufacturing investments in 2018.
A notable project in this industry is Sarawak Petchem which is part of the Sarawak state government initiative to develop Bintulu as a petrochemical hub.
This is in addition to investments by Pengerang Energy Complex and Petronas Chemicals Isononanol in Johor.
Darell said the economy is likely to remain on a steady path in 2019 as the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals remain strong despite domestic and external challenges.
This optimism is shared by Bloomberg in its recent analysis of emerging markets, whereby Malaysia was ranked first due to its growth prospects, state of the current account, sovereign credit ratings and, stock and bond valuation.
“The government has unveiled the National Budget 2019 to plot a path forward for Malaysia. It includes a mixture of stimuli, incentives, and safeguards to facilitate business and enhance the nation’s ongoing competitiveness.
"In addition, the year 2018 marked a significant stage in the country’s automation journey with the launch of Industry4WRD, the National Policy on Industry 4.0.
"The broad strategies and action plans under this framework will contribute to the progressive transformation of industries, boosting Malaysia as a key player on the world stage,” he said.
Last week, an automotive blog, quoted an unidentified source that some of the new approved permit (AP) holders, whom Miti had accorded the right to import re-conditioned cars, are abusing this privilege by offering to sell each AP at between RM18,000 and RM22,000.
Darell pleaded for complainants to file AP abuse allegations with Miti. "Please come forward with the proof or evidence. We need video recordings, photos of these allegations so that we can put things right," he said.
He then warned that Miti is strictly monitoring AP holders. Companies – including board members and shareholders – can be blacklisted and taken to court, if regulations are violated.
Last year, Miti blacklisted nine companies for misusing and abusing the APs granted to them.