Ladies and gentlemen,
1. Firstly, I would like to thank the organisations supporting this forum – the China-ASEAN Business Council, the China Top 500 Foreign Trade Enterprises Club, and the China Overseas Development Association – for their assistance in bringing such prominent Chinese companies to this meeting. And I’m particularly pleased to note that these companies represent sectors promoted by Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Programme.
2. I hope Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority will work more closely with these associations to encourage more Chinese companies to explore new opportunities in Malaysia.
3. My visit to China is to commemorate 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China. We are honoured by the warm welcome and presence of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. My ministers also visited Tianjin, paid a courtesy call on Tianjin Party Secretary Mdm Sun Chunlan, and witnessed the opening of the groundbreaking Xianda Seawater Desalination and Salt Making project in Tianjin Nangang Industrial Zone. I am proud that Malaysians are playing their part in China’s extraordinary growth, by bringing in high technology expertise which benefits the Chinese people. There’s Chinese saying: “to see one hundred years of China, go to Tianjin; one thousand years, go to Beijing; five thousand years, go to Beijing; five thousand years, go to Xi’an”. I am pleased that this visit had covered these three cities.
CHINA’S SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC REFORMS
4. China’s recent social and economic initiatives open up many new business opportunities for Malaysian companies. There will be increased demand for better utilities; quality healthcare; and more innovative retail opportunities; as well as many other niche services that Malaysian companies can capitalise on.
5. Our economic relationship is going from strength to strength; but there could be more investment from China in Malaysia – especially in the high technology manufacturing sector – although many well known Chinese property developers such as Country Garden and Greenland are investing in a big way. We are particularly keen for more Chinese investment in the projects outlined in our Economic Transformation Programme, which are designed to help achieve our national economic agenda.
6. Malaysia has a very attractive business environment: ranked 6th in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report, and 12th in the recent World Competitiveness Yearbook. We are also strategically placed for Chinese companies at the heart of ASEAN, and Malaysia will be the Chair of ASEAN in 2015.
7. Moreover, there is strong support from the Malaysian and Chinese Governments for greater investment and business cooperation between our countries. Both sides are pushing for the ASEAN-China FTA. And we are working together to deliver the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in 2015.
Thank you and I look forward to a successful dialogue.