Leiking proposes 1 investment promotion agency to rule them all

KUALA LUMPUR: The international trade and industry ministry is looking into having a single investment promotional agency to approve investments, perks and benefits for investors.

Its minister Darell Leiking said: “What I would really like to do is this. It will be good for Malaysia to have a singular place to decide on these perks and incentives sought by investors.

“If there are many other agencies deciding or competing with other similar agencies, it’s not healthy. They will bargain. Any investor will bargain for the best rate and stuff.”

Speaking at a session with industry players at the “Malaysia: A New Dawn” conference today, Leiking said: “We need to have a singular decision (making body) in government. One body deciding on investments – that should be the way forward.”

Leiking added that he would take this proposal to the Cabinet.

He was responding to a question on the country having between 30 and 40 investment promotion agencies or IPAs, whether it was efficient to have so many agencies and whether the government was rethinking the number of agencies.

“I believe the issue could be a sensitive one because most of the agencies that can approve investments or perks and benefits for investors are in different ministries.

“While they have achieved what they wanted, there is a question of efficiency,” he said.

To a question on the extent the ministry would go to in terms of restructuring tax incentives, Leiking said many reviews were ongoing to fit affordability, as well as the national fiscal policy.

“But I’m of the view that the people who come in to invest, as well as domestic investors, will be given the right acceptable incentives. They will be creating the spinoffs, the jobs and the opportunities for people,” he said.

Speaking to reporters later, Leiking said a review was always good.

“It must be good for us and also the investors. It is a win-win situation.

“Let the prime minister and the finance ministry announce. It will be good for everyone, it will be good for the nation, good for our investors,” he said.

Meanwhile, on how fast Asean could come up with a strong bloc to cushion a trade war, the minister said he hoped Asean countries could do something together in a stronger manner by the middle of next year.

“There are things being sorted out. You must remember, even though we are all Asean, it is still imperfect. There are still issues on tariff, even how we travel between each country.

“At this juncture, the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) is the nearest possible plan to cushion the impact, at least in the coming few months,” he said.

On how receptive other Asean ministers were to this, Leiking said they were excited about it.