DOHA, Dec 12 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has expressed confidence that Malaysia will be an ideal destination for Qatari investors, especially to access the broader market in the ASEAN region.
Dr Mahathir, who is on a four-day official visit to Qatar, welcomed more companies from Qatar to explore business opportunities in Malaysia particularly in oil and gas, chemical and chemical products, food processing, halal, hotel and tourism, Islamic banking and finance.
“I am happy to see the keen interest shown by the business community here. This is an excellent platform for us to better understand Qatari interests and to share potential investment opportunities in Malaysia.
“We note that there are only a handful of investments from Qatar in Malaysia (at the moment),” he said during the roundtable meeting with Qatari captains of industry here on Thursday.
Dr Mahathir, who arrived in the Qatar capital last night, also believed that there are ample business opportunities that can be explored by Malaysian businesses here.
Currently, he said, Malaysian companies such as Gamuda, UEM, Eversendai, Holiday Villa and Malaysia Airports have a large footprint in Qatar.
He noted that Malaysia remains on a steady economic path with a healthy average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 4.6 per cent in the first three quarters of 2019.
With its strong economic fundamentals, Malaysia continues to attract foreign direct investments (FDI), he added
Dr Mahathir pointed out that Malaysia strives to strike a balance by not only enhancing the ease of doing business in the country but also ensuring the nation benefits in the long run.
“By investing in human capital, technology and infrastructure, coupled with pro-business policies, we look to provide the optimal investment landscape to facilitate investors.
“I am optimistic that Qatari investors will find Malaysia an exciting base to expand their overseas operations. As such, this Roundtable Meeting is the ideal event for us to discuss how businesses from both Qatar and Malaysia can work together for mutually beneficial outcomes,” he said.
The prime minister said the confidence in Malaysia was attested by a multitude of independent institutes and organisations. Last month, the World Bank Doing Business Report 2020 ranked Malaysia 12th in its ease of doing business.
“This jump from the 15th position last year showcases Malaysia’s continuous commitment in providing a conducive environment to facilitate our investors.
“Malaysia was also ranked the world’s best country to invest in or do business for 2019 by CEOWORLD Magazine while Bloomberg’s 2018 Emerging Market Scorecard ranked us the most attractive emerging market in Asia,” added Dr Mahathir.
He said the Ministry of International Trade and Industry hosted the Second Meeting of the Joint Trade Committee between Malaysia and Qatar in Kuala Lumpur last October, and the meeting agreed to strengthen the bilateral trade and investment cooperation of both countries in areas such as banking, finance, transport, energy, tourism, sports and agriculture.
“During the event, our countries’ investment promotion agencies, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and the Investment Promotion Agency of Qatar (IPAQ), also signed an MoU to promote information exchanges on economic and industrial development as well as the organisation of joint promotional activities.
“I am optimistic that these are stepping stones to higher levels of partnerships between Malaysia and Qatar. Today, we are continuing the momentum here to intensify our mutually beneficial engagements,” he said.
Qatar is Malaysia’s fifth most important economic partner, with total trade between the two countries recorded at RM3.72 billion in 2018 — a 29 per cent increase compared with 2017.
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