Malaysian investors show strong interest on highways, housing, and tourism sectors here
In the wake of the successful B2B MoU between Sri Lankan and Singapore business last May, is the next ASEAN bilateral B2B invitation – a call for fully fledged MoU between Malaysia and Sri Lanka business. “We are highly encouraged by the call for closer B2B linkages between Malaysia and Sri Lanka businesses as Sri Lanka-Malaysia bilateral trade topped $ 800 million. The invitation by NCCIM President Syed Ali Alattas to me today to visit Malaysia to initiate the Malaysian Chapter of SL-Malaysia Business Council is an important event in our bilateral trade history,” announced Minister of Industry of Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.
|Minister of Industry of Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen in discussion with Malaysian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Azmi Zainuddin (right) and National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia President Syed Ali Alattas yesterday
Minister Bathiudeen made this statement after the courtesy call on him by a Malaysian business delegation led by the visiting National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia President Syed Ali Alattas (NCCIM, or Dewan Perniagaan dan Perindustrian Kebangsaan Malaysia), together with Malaysian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Azmi Zainuddin yesterday at his Ministry.
Ali Alattas’ NCCIM is the umbrella body of no less than five trade, industry and commerce Chambers in Malaysia – the Malay Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers. NCCIM is also part of two top regional trade bodies-the ASEAN Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as Confederation of Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Ali Alattas stated, “We are so glad that the war in Sri Lanka is over. Malaysia has strong business ties with Sri Lanka and we want to build on this. We are keen in investing in tourism construction such as resorts and chalets, transport infrastructure such as highways and housing and real estate, among others. Now we want to build up B2B links in Sri Lanka’s new upswing. We Invite Minister Bathiudeen to visit Malaysia to initiate the Malaysian Chapter of SL-Malaysia Business Council in Kuala Lumpur. We will be happy receive Minister Bathiudeen in this regard in coming August – September period. The Malaysian chapter will complete the growing B2B links between both countries.”
Minister Bathiudeen said, “We are highly encouraged by your invitation and I am happy to inform you that we too are keen in this regard. This will certainly forge closer B2B linkages between Malaysia and Sri Lanka businesses, a need which is now strongly felt more than ever. I also invite Malaysian investors to partner with us on tourism, infrastructure, our apparels and mining sector in Sri Lanka. Also, both Indo–Lanka and Pakistan–Lanka FTAs open the door for Malaysian manufacturers invest here and access these huge markets from Sri Lanka.”
According to the Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka, 2011 recorded the highest total trade turnover between Malaysia and Sri Lanka at US $ 849.59 million. The balance of trade has been heavily in favour of Malaysia during last 10 years mainly due to high volume of imports of petroleum and palm oil from Malaysia. Sri Lanka’s exports to Malaysia have been gradually increasing over the last six years from US $ 24.87 million. in 2006 to US $ 96.39 million, in 2011. Malaysian companies have been involved with construction projects since 1997 in sectors such as hospitality and tourism, energy, oil and gas, water supply and housing projects.
Malaysian-based Dialog Axiata is a leading mobile telephony operator in Sri Lanka. More recently, the Malaysian owned TKS Group of Companies which has diversified interests in Sri Lanka, increased its presence here specifically in the finance sector. Private Universities of Malaysia such as MSU, have started coming to Sri Lanka. About 1700 Sri Lankan students are already studying in Malaysia. The first meeting of the Sri Lanka-Malaysia Joint Commission was held in Colombo in June 2006.
Malaysia meanwhile, is a member of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) and also can benefit from ASEAN-China FTA, ASEAN-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, ASEAN- South Korea Free Trade Area and Agreement on Trade Preferential System among the Member States of Organisation of the Islamic Conference (TPS – OIC) among others.