New govt committed to boost business ties with China, says Azmin

Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali says there have been a lot of requests from China and local companies about business collaborations.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is committed to ramp up further collaboration with China, Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said today.

“Here, on behalf of our government, I want to give the commitment that we will work to strengthen this collaboration with China.

“We believe we can learn a lot from Chinese partners and we want to move forward,” Azmin said after delivering his closing speech at the “China Conference” organised by the South China Morning Post.

One of the first things the PH government did after taking power was to review big ticket projects, especially those involving China companies such as the East Coast Rail Link. Some of these projects have been axed or are being reconsidered. This led to some assuming that Putrajaya under PH was turning away from China.

Azmin’s statement is the latest assurance from the new government that this is not so.

Saying there were currently many Malaysian companies that had been very successful in China, Azmin added that Malaysia wanted to “push further”.

“Khazanah Nasional Berhad, as well as many Malaysian corporations, are going into China. But certainly we can always enhance this collaboration and form strategic alliances with Chinese partners. We should learn from them,” he said.

Azmin said a lot of requests had been coming in from China and local companies about business collaboration.

“Miti (international trade and industry ministry) is looking into that and at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, we discussed at length to ensure that we give immediate approval for all these applications to facilitate the (Chinese) business community coming to Malaysia and also to encourage Malaysian companies to move abroad to sell our products,” he said.

On whether the Look East Policy meant Malaysia was looking away from the US, Azmin said “all countries are important to us”.

“We welcome all investments but east is the direction which was embarked upon by (Prime Minister) Mahathir (Mohamad) some years back.

“But certainly we need to review if there are new challenges. There are new economies coming up and we believe that when we expand the scale of the Look East Policy, we must learn from China too,” he said.

On a purported RM10 billion investment by a China company in Malaysia, Azmin said he was not privy to the details.

“I was told. Someone whispered to me but I do not have the details,” he said.

It was reported today that China’s Pacific Construction Group Ltd (CPCG) gave Malaysia a vote of confidence with a planned RM10 billion investment over 10 years in, among others, infrastructure development and hi-tech machinery.

The Star reported Yan Jiehe, founder of CPCG – which is No 96th in the 2018 Fortune Global 500 – as saying on Thursday Malaysia “is business friendly, and one of the most competitive countries in the region”.

He was quoted as saying: “The country’s fundamentals are strong. You have excellent infrastructure, a robust eco-system and a big pool of trilingual talents. Kuala Lumpur, is thus, a strategic launch pad for our expansion into Asia Pacific.”