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Malaysia can expect surge in investments from Japan

posted 2 Oct 2011, 05:35 by Straits View

JOHOR BARU: Malaysia is a leading option among Asean countries for Japanese companies that plan to relocate to the Asean region following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, who recently led an investment delegation to Japan, said Malaysia could expect a surge in investment flows from Japan within the next one to two years.

He said many companies hit by the March 11 disaster had expressed strong interest to either relocate to Malaysia or expand their operations here due to the nation's political stability and the fact that it did not suffer major natural disasters.

“We will aggressively court these Japanese companies to come and invest in Malaysia due to economic uncertainties plaguing the US and eurozone,” he told reporters after attending a closed-door briefing byIskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda), Iskandar Investment Bhd and Johor Corp.

Mukhriz headed an investment mission to Tokyo and Osaka two months ago. He said following the roads shows at the two cities that many Japanese companies now had a better understanding of the investment climate in Malaysia.

He added that feedback gathered there showed that other Asean countries, particularly Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam, were also out to woo Japanese businesses.

“We are focusing on high-technology investments in the electronics and electrical and automotive sectors, while our neighbours are going for labour-intensive manufacturing activities,” said Mukhriz.

He said after political stability, the next criterion on the Japanese companies' requirement list for investments was whether the destination country was safe from natural disasters such as earthquake, tsunami, typhoon and volcanic eruptions.

Many Japanese companies practised the “just in time” concept, whereby there should be no interruption in their supply chain and production activities due to natural disasters, Mukhriz said, adding that Malaysia would also continue to attract more investments from China and India because of its stronger economic and political ties with the two emerging economic powerhouses.

Meanwhile, Irda chief executive officer Ismail Ibrahim said all stakeholders of Iskandar Malaysia would from time to time review their strategies to attract new investments to the economic growth corridor.

“Ours (the strategies) are not cast in stone and we have to be more flexible in view of economic uncertainties and challenges that are taking place,” he said.

- Malaysia Star