KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today welcomed investors from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries to consider projects under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) as a safe home for their surplus cash.
He said the programme called for huge investments in a number of key sectors — advanced technologies, including green and renewable technology, healthcare, education and tourism and hospitality.
“Most of the funding needed for the ETP will come from domestic sources, but we are also looking to foreign direct investment (FDI) to complement this effort,” he said in his keynote address at the Malaysia-Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group Investment Forum.
Najib said oil producing countries from the Middle East should invest more in new Asia.
“You have a part to play in our development and you stand to gain much from a stake in our future.
“In the past, you would have thought it safe and profitable to invest your surplus capital in the West. It is now to do the same here in the East,” he said.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said Malaysia was a better launchpad for oil producing countries to enter the Asian region.
He said with the Asean Economic Community, which would take off in 2015, Malaysia will become the gateway to a regional market of almost 600 million people with zero tariffs for 99.4 per cent of all tradable products.
The prime minister said that Asean’s free trade agreements with all of the major economies of Asia meant this preferential marketing now reached 3.2 billion people including the populations of India, India, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
“It is a market where standards of living are on the rise and spending on consumer goods is steadily increasing.
“That is what I mean when I say that doing business with Asia through Malaysia gives you a major strategic advantage,” he said.
The prime minister said a feature of the path towards development, that all observers agree is central to success, is the ability of developing nations to use surplus wealth in a purposeful way.
In other words, those countries that have successfully made the transition have learnt how to invest, and to invest well, he added.
He also said in short, it has been the acquisition of this basic of capitalism’s skills, that has enabled these societies to become more prosperous and develop.
Najib said the march of progress had touched new corners of the globe, with a number of poor nations becoming less poor, and not a few middle income nations joining the ranks of the rich.
“All of these observations point to just one thing, that is, a systemic shift from west to east in the global distribution of economic wealth and power.
“While difficult to predict how far that shift will go, it seems fair to say that it is unrelenting,” he added.
He said these changes had affected Malaysia on two levels, globally and at the national level.
He said globally, there was a shift in the pattern of demand for resources that nations need to develop and grow – energy, raw materials like minerals, agricultural produce as well as manufactured and consumer goods.
“As such, supply chains that stretch across the globe have no choice but adjust to the new pattern of flow in goods and services.
“Equally, at a national level, no country is immune to the ramifications of the global restructuring process taking place, and each of us will have to adapt our strategies to better fit the contours of the new global economy,” he added.
Najib said while the Middle East remains important because of its vast oil reserves and continues to meet the traditional markets in the West, it must respond also to the growing needs of a new and more confident Asia.
“Billions of dollars are being spent to modernise economies in this part of the world with millions of people moving out of poverty and taking their place among the middle class, with consumer spending set to soar,” he added.
He said that the long term economic success of any nation depends on its ability to invest surplus resources wisely.
Source : Bernama