PETALING JAYA: Tengku Zafrul Aziz has taken to social media to allay concerns over the government’s apparent lack of progress in realising commitments of RM170 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) received from various conglomerates in China, likening the process involved to a traditional Malay marriage.
In a five-minute video posted on X last night, the investment, trade and industry minister said when a foreign entity agrees to invest in a country, the process involved is akin to the traditional pre-marriage courtship of a Malay couple, known as “pinangan”.
“First, the families of a man and woman will agree to their union (in marriage),” he said.
He said the next step for a foreign investor would be to secure the necessary approvals from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida).
It is at this point that the company will go into detail about the intended investment and request incentives. Once all details are agreed upon, Mida will approve the investment.
“To use the marriage analogy, this part is similar to an engagement (pernikahan),” he said, adding that at this point the akad (terms), including making provision for payment of a dowry, is discussed and agreed upon.
The third part of the process, he said, involves realising the investment.
“This is the same as having a child, because that child is the product of the marriage,” Tengku Zafrul said, explaining that a foreign investment is akin to a “marriage” between a country and the investor.
“Realising investments may take anywhere between one and three years,” he said, explaining that larger investments may take longer to come to fruition.
In what appears to have been a swipe at detractors who questioned the government’s apparent lack of pace in realising foreign investments, the minister said:
“Those who ask why it is taking so long to realise the promised investments previously announced are of the same level as those who question why a married couple does not already have children from their union.
“Like marriages, investments also take time to yield results,” he said.
Tengku Zafrul said the government was serious about realising investments, citing the establishment of the Investment and Trade Coordination Action Committee (JTPPP) to monitor investments and resolve issues faced by investors and exporters.
He also said JTPPP reports to the National Investment Council, which convenes every month and is chaired by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim himself.
Tengku Zafrul said that as of June, Malaysia has approved RM132.6 billion in foreign direct investments, accounting for 60% of the government’s 2023 target. He said the figure included the promised Chinese investments.
Last week, former federal minister Hishammuddin Hussein accused Putrajaya of lacking urgency and focus in its handling of economic matters.
Noting that FDI to the tune of billions of ringgit had been announced, the Sembrong MP questioned if any follow up-action had been taken.
Earlier this month in the Dewan Rakyat, Anwar said Malaysia had the potential to secure investments worth RM216 billion following his visits to China, the US and the UAE.