Reel in Chinese investments into Malaysia: The Star

Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak and China Premier Li Keqiang attend a signing ceremony in Beijing on Nov 1, 2016.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak and China Premier Li Keqiang attend a signing ceremony in Beijing on Nov 1, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Barely after Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak ended his four-day official visit to China last Friday (Nov 4), The Star was told by an investment adviser that some businessmen in China could not wait to speed up their investment decisions in Malaysia.

Such is the immense impact the Malaysian leader has created on the business community during his Nov 1 to 4 official visit.

Significantly, Najib's visit has not only elevated Malaysia-China relations to another new high but also sent the strong message that Kuala Lumpur welcomes Chinese investments.

Chinese nationals witnessed the warm hospitality extended by their top leaders President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to Najib, who has been called a "close, reliable and trusted" friend and neighbour. Hence, they feel comfortable investing in Malaysia.

The signing of 14 MoUs with a total value of RM144 billion (S$47.5 billion) witnessed by Najib before a 400-strong business luncheon on Nov 1 stands testimony.

And the fact that Jack Ma of Alibaba Group has agreed to advise the Government on our digital economy and China's richest businessman Wang Jianglin wants to invest in Malaysia speak volumes.

From now on, investments from China in various fields - notably in infrastructure, manufacturing, tourism, services and e-economy linked activities - are likely to soar if Malaysia acts rapidly and professionally.

This will spur more economic activities and create more jobs.

As foreign direct investments from traditional sources have shown signs of slowing fast amid global economic uncertainty, new Chinese investments are timely to fill the void.

Hence they should be welcomed. The PM has stated that this is economic reality.

Some quarters have, however, expressed fear that Malaysia may be over reliant on China economically while others oppose for reasons best known to them.

China, the world's second largest economy, is rising fast in many areas and is displacing the West as a global centre of IT and innovations.

There are abundant opportunities for our businessmen in Xi's Belt and Road initiative.

If we don't capitalise on our strong ties and seize opportunities, we will miss the boat and be left behind.

If we look around, almost the whole world is wooing Chinese investments and want to engage with China - including the Philippines which used to be hostile to China.

Hence, why should we hesitate? Indeed, why should we?

* The Star is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 21 newspapers.