H.E. Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim
Former Minister of Law, Malaysia
Adviser to One Belt One Road Association of Malaysia
Speech for 26th October 2018
Leaders of the People’s Government of Guangdong Province
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank the People’s Government of Guangdong Province and the organisers of the 2018 Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo and Forum for inviting me to deliver this message in this beautiful city of Guangzhou.
One Belt One Road Association (OBOR) is dedicated to fostering more people to people and business and business tie-ups between China and the participating countries. Like the ancient Silk Road, the One Belt One Road will have huge economic advantages to China, and the Founding Members of OBOR which includes Malaysia, if we have close cooperation and work towards mutually beneficial goals.
We need to help grow new economic power centres in Asia and no longer can we rely on traditional business partners who are more interested to restrict trade rather than open trade.
To do this efficiently we must allow access to capital, manpower and resources across borders without much difficulty. To shift the centre of the world’s economic activity to Asia, as well as provide Asian countries with economic growth we need to actively help developing economies with capital assistance that are not burdensome and utilise their natural resources to the optimum.
These countries need the know how to upgrade their manpower requirement and financial assistance from rich countries like China. This is consistent with the President Xi Jinping foreign policy of offering economic support to participating countries under OBOR.
A closer understanding of the economic needs of these countries in Asia is necessary; as this will allow China to offer the type of economic help suited to these countries. Many European nations are currently on board with the plan and have actually expressed their confidence that this new road OBOR will not only have positive effects on Asia, but on the global economy as a whole.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Even though the Association’s focus is to promote and foster bilateral trade, services and investment between Malaysia and China, we are keen to explore wider investment opportunities from other countries under the belt and road initiative.
The trade relationship between Malaysia and China has been very strong. China is Malaysia’s largest market to-date. With around $100 billion in two-way trade in goods and services, it is a significant trading partner for China. I am delighted that this session is specially designed for the One Belt One Road Association of Malaysia. We are always excited to learn more about business collaboration, trade and investment opportunities for our members, especially in Guangdong’s Province.
There are around 200 Malaysian companies having investments in China across many areas including in natural resources, hotels, retails, property, clean energy, agribusiness, healthcare and transport sectors..
Ladies and gentlemen,
Malaysia has a new government; the first change since independence in 1957. Naturally, there will be some policy changes, which can impact trade and business relationship. Some dislocation would occur and may appear troublesome, as the new leaders need time to get used to each other. This is normal and will not hinder the long-standing relationship between the two countries. Generally. the relationship between government and people is strong. Malaysia always welcomes Chinese business and Chinese tourists. We welcome foreign investment in infrastructures, agriculture and transport and logistics. Tourism is key to our economic growth and more investment in the hospitality business is much needed.
The new pillars of change of the new government announced last week includes, becoming more transparent and accountable at all levels of governance, skill enhancement of human resources, more equitable and broad range development throughout the country, and not limited only to big towns. We can also expect the usual push for more private sector participation, and joint ventures with government in many areas. We will rely on advanced telecommunications facilities, and more use of science and technology to help the country grow.
To conclude, I would like to welcome all of you to invest in Malaysia and wish all of you a fruitful and informative session.