Malaysian PM Mahathir set to meet Alibaba's Jack Ma: Report

Malaysia's prime minister Mahathir Mohamad (left) at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Japan, on June 11, 2018; Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Jan 18, 2017.
Malaysia's prime minister Mahathir Mohamad (left) at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo, Japan, on June 11, 2018; Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Jan 18, 2017. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG/ AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is set to meet Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, at his office in Putrajaya on Monday (June 18), the Malaysiakini website reported.

The website, citing sources within the Prime Minister's Office, said the meeting would take place at 9am.

Ma was said to have wanted to meet Tun Dr Mahathir earlier this month but that meeting had been delayed because Dr Mahathir had apparently wanted to focus on putting together his new Pakatan Harapan government.

Ma, who had advised the previous Barisan Nasional government led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak on digital economy, is expected discuss the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) project, during his meetingwith Dr Mahathir.

The DFTZ, launched under the Najib administration, is a regional logistics hub set up by the Alibaba Group and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation.

The meeting comes as the government has pledged to review several Beijing-backed projects initiated by Najib as it looks towards Japan for economic cooperation. Dr Mahathir, however, has said the DFTZ project would continue.

According to The Star, Ma is in Kuala Lumpur to open an Alibaba office in Bangsar South on Monday (June 18). It said Ma was believed to have met Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng over an informal dinner on Sunday, ahead of the opening.