Japanese investors want to return to Malaysia, says Guan Eng

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (third from left) during the Chinese New Year celebration at the Tow Boo Kong temple in Butterworth. (Bernama pic)

BUTTERWORTH: Putrajaya’s handling of the 1MDB controversy is attracting Japanese investors to Malaysia, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said.

Lim, who has just returned from Japan, said investors there were initially afraid about coming to Malaysia due to the scandal surrounding the state investment arm.

“But after seeing the action taken over the 1MDB scandal, they now want to return to Malaysia,” he said, adding that Japenese investors were also confident of the country’s strengthening economy.

Lim was speaking to reporters after attending a Chinese New Year celebration at the Tow Boo Kong temple here tonight.

He said the country is also hoping to attract investors from other countries, including China.

He noted that Malaysia’s economic growth is expected to improve this year based on the 3.1% increase in the Industrial Production Index in 2018 over the preceding year.

“This is an encouraging indicator. It follows the announcement that this year’s exports have broken the record after hitting nearly RM1 trillion, while at the same time the trade surplus has risen 22% from RM98 billion to RM120 billion.

“The inflation rate is also the lowest in nine years at just 1%. All these are good indicators, and we are confident that this year the growth will be better,” he said.

Commenting on the International Monetary Fund’s warning for nations to gear up for a possible economic “storm”, Lim said Malaysia is one of the countries that will benefit from the US-China trade war.

“We hope this can be sorted out soon, but in the short term, Malaysia will still benefit.

“We have to be prepared for any economic storm, but at the same time, we must grab the opportunity that is available,” he added.