News From : DagangHalal.com (04 Apr 2010)
PUTRAJAYA, April 4 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Sunday pledged to implement policies to ensure Malaysia’s investment environment remained conducive and competitive to attract foreign direct investments.
He said the country would become more responsive to the needs of foreign and domestic investors given the stiff competition in the international marketplace.
“We do realise that the economic environment has changed. There are many more new emerging economies offering very attractive and considerably much lower labour cost than we can and some of them are quite substantially large markets.
“The world today is different than what it was in the 80s and Malaysia needs to compete with many more countries. We will be able to attract our share of FDIs this year and next year.
“As we move forward, we have to get the market excited about our reforms,” he said on “Setahun di Aras 5: Temubual Khas Bersama Perdana Menteri,” a Bernama TV programme featuring a special interview marking Najib’s first year in office as Prime Minister.
“The whole world was suffering last year and the fact that we didn’t suffer as much is indicative of the level of confidence towards Malaysia,” Najib said in response to questions raised by Bernama Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Zulkefli Salleh and Bernama Economic Service Editor, Mikhail Raj Abdullah during the interview.
He also stressed that it was difficult to sustain the inflows of investment last year due to the global economic downturn and not because Malaysia was no longer competitive to attract FDIs.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, unveiled the New Economic Model on Tuesday, which will make Malaysia more competitive regionally and globally with benefits accruing to all Malaysians, with their per capita income increasing to US$15,000 by the end of the decade from US$7,000 currently.
On the liberalisation of the financial services sector, Najib said the number of applications received from foreign banks were beginning to add up to the inflow of investments in the financial services industry.
The Prime Minister said the government was in the midst of processing applications from two mega Islamic banks with a paid capital of US$1 billion each.
“There are very exciting times waiting to be unveiled,” he said.
In November 2009, the Ministry of Finance approved the issuance of a commercial bank licence to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC).
On the halal industry, Najib said government initiatives were likely to keep Malaysia ahead of other countries which were participating in this growing industry globally like Argentina, Australia and Brazil.
He said the country’s halal brand, initiated by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) had strong integrity and reputation.
“We are trying to organise ourselves to promote Malaysia’s halal hub, but we do have to link up with other countries if we want to export halal food as we are a net importer of food,” he added.