“Malaysia Boleh” – Malaysia’s Triumph in Foreign Investments

KL skyline. Photographer unknown.

In 1990, Nicholas Pinder embarked on an adventure to open an office in Malaysia for a York-based company eager to explore the Southeast Asian export market, referred to as the SEA policy at the time. The ’90s were a period of boundless optimism. Skyscrapers filled the skylines of Southeast Asian capitals, symbolizing a region in the midst of remarkable growth. Malaysia, like its fellow tiger economies, had its ups and downs but always rebounded with remarkable resilience.

Fast forward to the post-pandemic era, and Malaysia is back in the spotlight. German multinational Siemens, through its subsidiary Infineon Technologies, is investing a staggering 5 billion euros to build a power chip plant in Malaysia, adding to their 2 billion euros commitment from the previous year. This new facility is set to generate annual revenue of 7 billion euros, with prominent clients such as Ford, Cherry, and SAIC already onboard.

Tesla has also made a groundbreaking move by establishing a regional headquarters in Malaysia. This allows them to sell their Shanghai-made electric vehicles directly to Malaysian consumers, bypassing middleman markups and tariffs. It’s a game-changer for Southeast Asia’s electric vehicle industry.

German tech giant Bosch is contributing RM1.62 billion to open a semiconductor site in Penang, focusing on automotive chip testing. These three foreign investments underscore Malaysia’s appeal as a hub for growth and opportunity in a region that often faces constraints and rigidity.

For British businesses and industries, the UK and Malaysia’s inaugural Free Trade Agreement, a milestone achieved through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), promises accessible goods and a surge in business opportunities. Unlike the supply chain issues in Europe, Malaysia offers stability and reasonable labour costs.

Malaysia welcomes foreign investors and provides a conducive environment for their growth, a rarity in a region where flexibility is often lacking. This message is loud and clear, setting the stage for a mutually beneficial partnership.

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