PETALING JAYA: Investment, trade and industry minister (Miti) Tengku Zafrul Aziz’s trade mission to Japan has secured a relatively modest RM23 billion in potential investments to Malaysia and RM2.1 billion potential exports to Japan.
The five-day mission to Tokyo and Osaka, which concluded today, secured the potential investments and exports following meetings with top management of various Japanese companies.
These included Fuji Electric, NHK Spring, CKD Corp, Itochu Corp, Sumitomo Corp, Mitsui & Co Ltd, Denso Corp, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co Ltd (JAPEX), Panasonic Housing Solutions Co Ltd, D-ACT, Omron Relay and Devices Corp, and Daiwa House Industry Co Ltd.
Committed exports were from sectors such as energy and chemicals, palm oil, construction and building materials, food and beverage (F&B), lifestyle as well as green and sustainable industries.
“Notably, many of these potential investments fit into the New Investment Policy’s (NIP) target sectors such as digital economy, electrical and electronics (including medical devices) and chemical or petrochemicals,” Tengku Zafrul said in a statement today, according to Bernama.
Debate over dubious MoUs
However, the investment commitment from Japan pales in comparison with commitments garnered from Chinese businesses during Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s three-day official visit to China in late March.
A whopping RM170 billion in potential investments were secured after 19 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) were signed between Malaysian and Chinese companies during his trip.
However, the issue of investment-related MoUs being announced following government trade missions overseas has come under scrutiny recently.
Titiwangsa MP Johari Ghani has called on the government to explain how companies without proper track records were allowed to sign MoUs with Chinese corporations during Anwar’s China visit.
A former second finance minister, Johari had asked in the Dewan Rakyat for Miti and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) to explain the screening process which saw such companies selected.
In response to Johari, Tengku Zafrul claimed the government conducts “a thorough screening process” before approving any MoU signed between local and foreign companies.
He added the screening involved several ministries and agencies to ensure that the MoUs offer significant economic benefits to the country.
In his statement today, Tengku Zafrul said Miti will work on realising the Japanese investments quickly to help Malaysia capitalise on the better global economic growth trajectory in the coming years.
“Miti will also work on realising the committed exports of Malaysian goods and services to the Japanese market, while also leveraging on the various free trade agreements (FTAs) of which Malaysia is a member,” he added.