KUALA LUMPUR – Amazon Web Services (AWS) took a wait-and-see approach that spanned a number of years before deciding to invest RM25.5 billion (S$7.7 billion) in Malaysia, said Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday.
“Negotiations started in December 2019 and were ongoing... In the end, they contacted us to state that it was because of political stability and clear direction in policies that Amazon chose Malaysia to set up their base,” Datuk Seri Anwar said in response to a parliamentary question in the Dewan Rakyat.
He added that transparency in negotiations between AWS and the government was also a factor in the company’s decision to invest here.
“There were to be no negotiations with agents or private companies selected by us. We said that they (AWS) have the freedom and transparency to make their own choice subject to stipulated conditions,” he said.
Mr Anwar also noted that incentives provided to foreign investors are sufficient and AWS was more concerned if Malaysia was business-friendly.
“What they stressed on was the ease of doing business on matters such as whether approvals could be made swiftly. That is why we have set up a main task force committee to oversee the project as we cannot carry on operating like the old ways,” he said.
AWS announced last Thursday that it would be launching a new infrastructure region in Malaysia as part of a public-private sector partnership with the Malaysian government.
The announcement also came with AWS confirming it intends to invest at least RM25.5 billion in the country by 2037 with the intention of developing Malaysia as a “cloud region” for data storage and other cloud-based services.
AWS’ established cloud regions in Asia currently include Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, and Hong Kong. The company is also developing a new region in Thailand.
Another corporate giant, Tesla, also recently announced plans to invest in Malaysia.
International Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz had previously said Tesla’s decision was based on Malaysia’s strong electrical and electronics ecosystem to support the manufacture of electric vehicles (EVs).
Tesla plans to set up an operating office, its famed experience centres, as well as aftersales support facilities in the country.
Mr Anwar said businesses from Singapore and the Philippines have indicated their interest in using the AWS cloud facilities in Malaysia once they have been set up.
Without providing specific figures, he said the investments by AWS and Tesla would create several thousand jobs, including positive spillover effects for the surrounding small and medium-sized enterprises. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK