DUBAI, April 9 – Malaysia is taking the necessary measures in redoubling its efforts to attract investment, drive productivity and innovation in its pursuit to be a high-income nation, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told a premier investment forum here Tuesday. Addressing the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) 2014 here, he said the Malaysian government had emphasised a paradigm shift in its policies and mapped out its approach through detailed and comprehensive long-term reforms. “For Malaysia, we believe that to be a high-income nation, it requires redoubling our efforts to attract investment, drive productivity and innovation,” he said.

The Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) with its National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) and Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRIs) was being implemented to chart the way forward, he said. “To date, we have made good progress in delivering social development and economic growth under the ETP, particularly in creating new opportunities for both foreign and local investments,” he said, adding that as testimony, the Malaysian economy expanded by 4.7 per cent last year. He also told the forum that Malaysia’s projected growth for 2014 would be between five per cent and 5.5 per cent, anchored by domestic demand, sustained private consumption, capital spending in the domestic-oriented industries and the on-going implementation of infrastructure projects.

“We are confident that the Malaysian economy will continue to be resilient, underpinned by the comfortable level of reserves, strong domestic consumption, low unemployment rate and healthy inflows of foreign direct investment,” he said. Muhyiddin also stressed the importance of market inclusiveness through bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs) as well as multilateral arrangements as the effective ways forward. These arrangements include sustainable and inclusive elements on growth and investment opportunities across various economies, he said. Muhyiddin described the AIM 2014 theme, “Investment Partnerships for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Frontier and Emerging Markets”, as a fitting one given the importance of collaborative efforts in driving sustainable and inclusive growth, especially within the context of emerging markets. “The world is witnessing intense competition for global FDI (foreign direct investment). “For emerging economies, there is the additional challenge of attracting high quality FDI in the right areas and ensuring that the investments received augur well with our own economic agenda,” he said.

Muhyiddin said while countries increasingly depend on trade and freer economy to raise the income levels of their citizens, they also continue to struggle with questions of sustainability, particularly on how to arrive at a comfortable balance wherein one does not need to be sacrificed in order to prioritise the other. While it could be a challenging task for many countries to pursue goals to create wealth for citizens while at the same time ensuring that the planet “we leave behind is a better one for our grandchildren”, it is not insurmountable, he said. He said governments, corporations, civil societies and the general populace must work together to tackle this task. “While governments can put in place specific policies to encourage sustainable development initiatives, such policies are merely tools — they need to be sharpened and utilised in the right manner for them to transform into real and meaningful deliverables,” he said.

Corporations too must come forward and become policy enablers as they must work hand-in-hand with governments to find new and innovative ways to make their operations more sustainable and environmentally-friendly, he said. He said harnessing economic growth for sustainable and inclusive development was very important particularly at a time of persistent crises and pressing social and environmental challenges, adding that a primary driver of such growth is investment as it would contribute to sustainable development objectives. Representatives from more than 100 countries are attending this year’s AIM, which is organised by the UAE Ministry of Economy under the patronage of Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum. The event has established itself as a platform that will shape investments and partnerships to achieve sustainable growth in emerging markets worldwide.

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