PETALING JAYA: A robust and comprehensive mechanism is already in place to enable the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) and its agencies to monitor the progress of potential investments and export commitments secured through its investment missions or other means.
Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (Mida) and InvestKL will follow up with the proposed investments to ensure the implementation of approved projects, while potential exports will be pursued by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).
Malaysia recently secured a record RM170bil in investment commitments from China through the signing of 19 memoranda of understanding (MOUs) in Beijing, witnessed by the premiers of both countries.
Tengku Zafrul said the ministry is supported by its national and global networks of Miti, Mida, InvestKL and Matrade in monitoring and facilitating projects.
“This enables Miti and its agencies to be highly responsive in providing support to ensure announced commitments – be they on investments or exports – are well facilitated and materialised.
“I have also stressed the proper monitoring of KPIs (key performance indicators) for each project, which must support our national goals, including providing higher-paying jobs for Malaysians, ensuring knowledge transfers, and moving SMEs (small and medium enterprises) further up the value chain,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He cited Mida’s online, real-time Investment Tracking Mechanism, which facilitates the approval process and speeds up the implementation of investment projects, as an example of the mechanism employed.
Tengku Zafrul also said both Mida and InvestKL have established end-to-end facilitation services to handhold each investor during their company’s investment journey, from the announcement of the commitment to implementation.
“The Cabinet is also updated quarterly on committed investment figures before a press release is issued to the media. In terms of export performance figures, Matrade issues its press release monthly. All these are also made available to the public,” he said.
Tengku Zafrul said the investment project monitoring update shall be part of Malaysia’s National Investment Council’s (NIC) standing agenda to ensure the nation’s highest level of commitment in realising major potential investments.
Chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the NIC is set to hold its first meeting soon.
“In terms of enhancing the ease of doing business, the Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (Pemudah) has been reactivated, with Miti as its secretariat, to ensure the investor’s journey is facilitated from end to end,” Tengku Zafrul added.
His statement follows the announcement by Anwar, fresh from his visit to China, that the Cabinet had decided at its meeting on Wednesday to ensure effective actions are taken to facilitate those investments.
Economist Manokaran Mottain commented that it would be good enough if two-thirds of the investment commitments of RM170bil are realised and implemented.
“Civil servants will have to buck up and make sure all these projects are implemented,” he said.
Manokaran expects the bureaucracy and red tape to also be minimised due to the government-to-government element in this round, unlike single investors who will have to refer to several agencies for different approvals.Malaysian Institute of Economic Research senior research fellow Dr Shankaran Nambiar said Malaysia has a good conversion rate for MOU. “So far, Malaysia has got a pretty good conversion rate – close to 70%, a respectable figure.”
Dr Nambiar added that to improve Malaysia’s attractiveness as an investment hub, there must be urgent upgrades to facilities, infrastructure, incentives and skillsets that the country can offer.
Prof Geoffrey Williams of the Malaysia University of Science and Technology said the government’s main role is to ensure there are no bureaucratic blockages that will delay or prevent the investments, including from a policy and support perspective.
“It is common for investment MOU or approvals to be set aside and not eventually implemented due to many reasons. The aim is to get as many through the implementation process as possible while recognising that some will not work out,” he said.