Former second finance minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani has called for clearer economic directions to attract and sustain foreign direct investments (FDI) into Malaysia.Speaking at the annual UMNO General Assembly today, he urged the government to speed up the formulation of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) to provide strategic plans in the medium to longer term and hence attract more foreign investments into the country.
“The 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) is over. We have come out with the budget (for 2021) but have yet to formulate the 12MP. By right, we must formulate the 12MP. We should strategize for the next five years or more so that potential investors can look at our document and know what are our strategies. Only then would they be interested to invest here in the future,” he said during the assembly held at the Kuala Lumpur World Trade Centre (WTC KL) here today.
Johari noted that Malaysia had recorded a decline in FDI for three consecutive years and that investors seemed to be choosing neighbouring countries as their investment destinations instead, thus stunting the growth of Malaysia’s economy and job opportunities. The country attracted FDI inflow of US$13.5 billion for 2017, higher than Indonesia (US$4.5 billion), Vietnam (US$12.6 billion) and the Philippines (US$8.7 billion).
Based on a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report, Malaysia’s FDI fell to US$2.5 billion last year while Indonesia attracted US$18 billion in FDI.Johari also questioned the stance that the country would be “more selective” in attracting quality foreign investments.
“What happened with Indonesia? Indonesia recorded FDI of US$18 billion in 2020 compared with US$4.5 billion in 2017. While our neighbouring country faces a worse COVID-19 situation, its FDI had risen to US$18 billion,” he said.Johari said Malaysia must always encourage entrepreneurship by facilitating incentives to all layers of society.The two-day 2020 UMNO General Assembly began yesterday, and about 2,600 delegates attended it at WTC KL and virtually.