M’sia still a competitive investment destination


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia continues to be a safe and competitive investment destination in Asia due to its well-developed physical and institutional infrastructure compared with other countries on the continent.The national economy is expected to continue showing low inflation, a strong current account surplus, stable monetary and exchange rates and a resilient banking sector despite the current global economic turmoil.

Among others, a potential investment to tap into in the country, is the halal industry.

Malaysia continues to make great strides in promoting its world class Halal hub.

The government has also been active in promoting the country’s halal products and services while strengthening the halal certification programme.

Located strategically within the Asia Pacific region, Malaysia is among the most developed countries in Asean. It is also recognised internationally as a modern and progressive Islamic country with an open economy offering competitive business incentives.

Blessed with economic and political stability, the country is well positioned to become the leader in developing the halal industry.

The United Nations had cited Malaysia as the best example in the world in terms of rationalisation for the labelling of Halal food, when the Codex Alimentarius Commission adopted the Codex general guidelines, for the use of the term “Halal” in Geneva in 1997.

Malaysia’s active role in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and its position as the home of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), further enhanced the coun­try’s standing as the market leader in the provisioning of halal products and services globally.

Speaking at the opening of the Sixth Malaysian International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) 2009 and the Second World Halal Research Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, encouraged Malaysian companies to link up with international companies to accelerate their entry into the global halal market.

He said local companies could seek strategic alliances either through equity participation or buying over of international brands.

According to Najib it is essential for Malaysian companies to seek such tie-ups within the country and abroad to benefit from each partner’s strength. This is in terms of sourcing for raw materials, ingredients, technology, distribution channels and branding.

Local companies should also further strengthen bilateral ties with Malay­sia’s trading partners, in particular, the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) countries in Africa and China.

He also stated that the companies should also seek the vast business oppor­tunities in the halal industry in these countries.

Malaysian Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) managing director and chief executive officer Jamil Bidin said Malaysia is in a strong position to become the global halal industry hub with its established reference point as the centre for training, research and development (R&D), and standards.

“Having taken the lead in the global multi-billion business of providing halal products and services, including Islamic finance, Malaysia has moved aggressively in the industry over the past few years,” he said.

He explained that the HDC had started with the development of standards and was now moving into logistics, non-food products while being way ahead of many countries in respect of the halal industry.

According to him the Malaysian halal industry had the potential to contribute about 5.8 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020.

This is in line with the target set by the HDC under its masterplan for the industry.

He said the global economic downturn had caused the HDC to prioritise its projects.

According to Jamil, the halal industry is big and the HDC was facing stiff com­petition from some other countries.

However, he said confidently that Malaysia had the edge as it started moving aggressively in the industry way back in the 1980s.

Meanwhile, the announcement by Najib on the liberalisation plan for the financial services sector