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Malaysian Special Envoy to China: Let the Chinese feel at home in Malaysia

At present, China and Malaysia are both at a new historical starting point. The bilateral trade volume between Malaysia and China and the investment of Chinese enterprises in Malaysia have continued to grow. China is a major source of foreign investment in Malaysia. The Malaysian government also intends to continue to support and actively participate in the development of  “the Belt and Road” and promote bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Recently, Tan Kok Wai, Malaysian Special Envoy to China and Chairman of the Malaysia-China Business Council, said in an exclusive interview with the reporter that the development of bilateral relations has been promoted to become positive and getting better and better by the economic and trade cooperation and growth between China and Malaysia.

“We welcome more Chinese to travel, invest and purchase house in Malaysia.” Tan Kok Wai said.

Malaysian Special Envoy to China, Chairman of the Malaysia-China Business Council Tan Kok Wai

“These data are speaking.”

Among the 10 ASEAN countries, Malaysia is the first country to establish diplomatic relations with China. While witnessing China’s great achievements in reform and opening up, China-Malaysia trade and economic development has also made amazing progress. Tan cited a set of data for comparison: In the 40 years of China’s reform and opening up (1978~2017), China’s per capita income has increased by 55 times, and its gross domestic product (GDP) has increased by 224.6 times. In the same period of 40 years, China-Malaysia trade was observed. In the year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries (1974), the total bilateral trade volume was only 159 million US dollars. By 2013, it had increased to 106 billion US dollars, an increase of 667 times. “From the perspective of the growth of bilateral trade between Malaysia and China, the relationship between our two countries is getting better and better.” Tan concluded.

“These data are speaking.” Tan said that a series of data is about the optimism of the Chinese government and the Chinese people on Malaysia and the confidence in the development of cooperation between the two countries.

Based on the common position of China and Malaysia in supporting multilateralism and global trade freedom, Malaysian entrepreneurs and investors have been actively participating in and supporting various trade promotion activities sponsored by China, such as China International Import Expo, “One Belt and One Road”. “International Cooperation Summit Forum, etc. “Our two countries have enhanced exchanges and gained business opportunities in these activities.” Tan said. He also expressed his expectation for the 2019 China-ASEAN Expo.

“China-Malaysia ‘Two Parks in Two Countries’ will be more iconic”

On the transcripts of China-Malaysia economic and trade cooperation, Tan was also amazed by the “two parks in two countries” project.

China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park and Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park have created a new model of international cooperation – “two countries and two parks”. In the 6 years of development and construction of China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park, the total investment has exceeded 14 billion yuan, the number of registered enterprises has reached 347, and 148 projects have been introduced, with a total investment of 119.745 billion yuan. More than 10 high-tech projects with scale and development prospects have been put into production one after another. The former barren hills and mountains have turned into an industrial new city. Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park focuses on the development of industries with traditional advantages such as steel, aluminum deep processing, palm oil processing, and halal food processing, and accelerates the development of emerging industries such as information and communication, electrical and electronic industries and environmental protection industries. Development of the financial and insurance industry.

“China-Malaysia ‘two parks in two countries’ is an important symbol of cooperation between the two countries and an important window for exchanges and business cooperation between the two peoples of the two countries.” Tan commented. From the outstanding performance of the bilateral trade between Malaysia and Guangxi in the year of 2018 compared with the year-on-year increase of 44% in 2017, he foresees that China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park, which is a symbol of China-Malaysia economic and trade cooperation, will grow into one of the economic profit-making zones in Guangxi. Regarding the interaction between the “two parks in two countries”, Tan hopes that the Chinese and Malaysian governments will achieve greater progress and development in the areas of investment promotion, tax incentives and education cooperation. “As a result, ‘two parks in two countries’ will be more iconic.”

It is understood that at present, China-Malaysia “two parks in two countries” have established close cooperation arrangements, and industrial cooperation is progressing smoothly. The National Key Laboratory of Bird’s Nest and Nutritional Health Food Testing, the Bird’s Nest Processing Trade Base and the inspection platform of China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park have been completed and put into use. In 2018, the halal industrial park project jointly established by China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park and Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (Malaysia) and the Malaysian Innovation City Project jointly established with the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia were launched; the integrated steel project with a total investment of 1.4 billion US dollars in Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park has been put into production; the projects such as petrochemical and aluminum processing have been accelerated.

“Let the Chinese feel at home in Malaysia”

In August 2018, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir visited China to meet with Chinese leaders. Both sides agree that the traditional friendship between China and Malaysia is profound and the two countries are not only comprehensive strategic partners but also pragmatic partners. The two countries are currently standing at a new historical starting point for the development of their respective countries. The two sides are full of confidence in the development prospects of bilateral relations and are satisfied with the current economic and trade relations between the two countries. They agreed to jointly prepare “the five-year plan for economic and trade cooperation between the two countries (2018-2022)”. The two countries will further enhance political mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation, and promote the steady and steady development of China-Malaysia comprehensive strategic partnership on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit from the overall strategic situation and long-term perspective. The Malaysian side reaffirmed its firm adherence to the one-China policy and welcomed, supported and will continue to actively participate in “the Belt and Road” cooperation.

In Tan’s view,”the Belt and Road” initiative is based on the new environment of globalization and the future development of the environment, countries to enhance exchanges to achieve mutual benefit and win-win. Despite the uncertainties in international economic and trade trends in recent years, factors such as market downturn and exchange rate fluctuations have caused the bilateral trade volume between China and Malaysia to slow down in 2014, but in 2018, bilateral trade volume between China and Malaysia hit a record high ($108.6 billion). For the third consecutive year, China has become Malaysia’s largest foreign investor. Therefore, Tan believes that China and Malaysia will be able to overcome adversity and develop greater market potential in cooperation. Referring to the decision of the new Malaysian government to suspend or cancel some Chinese investment projects, he said, “This is a decision made by the new Malaysian government based on an assessment of the country’s economic situation, and both the Chinese and Malaysian governments have already done so. The Chinese leaders have repeatedly stated that they fully understand the current economic situation in Malaysia. The Chinese government also believes that the Malaysian side will never sing against the Chinese side.” Tan explained that this will not harm China-Malaysia economic and trade cooperation. The overall situation will not affect the confidence of Chinese-funded enterprises to invest in Malaysia. “China is a strategic partner that we attach great importance to. China-Malaysia relations have a long history and are very close.”

In fact, in order to attract foreign capital, promote tourism, and develop the economy, as early as 2002, the Malaysian government introduced the “Second Home” program (MM2H) to encourage foreigners to live in Malaysia for a longer period of time. The flexible, free and retreatable living conditions of the program are favored by many Chinese. By 2018, the Malaysian government has approved a total of 33,000 foreigners from 126 countries to participate in the program, with the Chinese applying the most and the number of approved persons is 8714.

Under the blessing of “MM2H”, Tan said that the new Malaysian government and institutions at all levels are also constantly introducing more preferential policies, hoping to enhance the confidence of Chinese companies in investing in Malaysia. He said that at present, the Malaysia-China Business Council under his leadership has compiled and published an investment guidebook for Chinese investors, detailing Malaysia’s tax structure, economic and trade laws, political and economic conditions, etc., to facilitate it.

“We want the Chinese to feel at home in Malaysia.” Tan said.

Source: “CHINA-ASEAN PANORAMA” “Political and Economic Edition” (March 2019)

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