China investors still keen on Malaysia, says chamber president

Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce president Tan Yew Sing says there is a lot of interaction between the two countries.

KUALA LUMPUR: The interest of investors from China in Malaysia is still very strong despite decisions by Putrajaya to review several deals, Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce president Tan Yew Sing said today.

Tan noted that in general, there were still investors from China coming to Malaysia and they were waiting for a clear signal on a more pro-business policy.

“There is still a lot of investment from China, and there is a lot of interaction going on. A lot of investors from China are still here. The interest (in Malaysia) is still very strong.

“Furthermore, the leaders for both Malaysia and China have already made very clear statements that the ties of both countries are actually moving forward,” he said during a plenary session at the China Conference here today.

Tan points out that the general sentiment is more positive with the new government in place and its efforts to get the economy back on track.

“Whatever is the final achievement, we will have a government that is going to be more effective. The cost of doing business, if you take away all these corruption, will be more efficient,” he said.

Tan also pointed out that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s decision to review the RM55 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project was, in the long run, better for the ties of both countries.

He said a review or a delay was better than carrying on with the mega projects and facing problems with repayment of loans.

“We need to accept this fact. In the long run, that is better for both countries’ relationship,” he said.

YTL Group’s executive chairman Francis Yeoh, meanwhile, welcomed the public scrutiny of the now deferred ECRL project as it would boost public support.

Yeoh said if Malaysia were to proceed with the project without a transparent framework, it would be linked to politics.

“People will start to criticise, like how people say the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) is a China political project to expand their influence. It tends to be that way if you do not position a narrative.

“But if the nations of the world welcome the BRI projects in a transparent way, all the world players, Malaysia, the United States, will come,” he said during one of the panel discussions at the conference.

The ECRL project is now on hold pending a review by the PH government. It was previously reported that the deal, entered into by former prime minister Najib Razak and the past Barisan Nasional (BN) government, was being reexamined as it was claimed the deal was lopsided in China’s favour.