Thursday, July 18

Special committee to study economic impact on Malaysia-China trade

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KOTA KINABALU: The government has agreed to form a special committee to study the economic impact on trade and investment between Malaysia and China following the disappearance of Flight MH370 last month.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the committee, approved by the Cabinet yesterday, would be made up of his ministry, Finance Ministry, Tourism Ministry and the Economic Planning Unit (EPU).

“The economic impact committee would look into the overall current situation and formulate the best strategies including communications to ensure continuous investment and trade with China,” he said at a media conference after launching the Entrepreneurial Development Unit (BPU) Outreach programme by the ministry here yesterday.

Mustapa said Malaysia was confident that investment and trade with China would continue to strengthen based on the diplomatic relationship between the two countries which dates back to 40 years ago.

He said the ministry so far has not seen any signs of decline in trade and investment activities involving China, except tourism which suffered a significant impact due to the Chinese dissatisfaction following the MH370 tragedy.

Flight MH370 with 227 passengers and 12 crew, went missing in the early morning on March 8, one hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12.45 am.

The aircraft was supposed to have landed in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day.

Search and rescue efforts for the aircraft are still ongoing in the Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile, Mustapa said investment in Sabah, especially in the east coast such as Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) in Lahad Datu was not affected after the armed group intrusion in Lahad Datu incident in Kampung Tanduo, on Feb 12, last year and the kidnap of two foreign nationals at Singamata Adventures Reef Resort near Semporna, on April 2, this year.

“There is a slight impact, but it is not alarming since the federal government is committed and we are confident that the federal government would make a radical change in terms of software asset and personnel to ensure the security of Sabah,” he said.

On the one-day outreach programme, he said Sabah was the first location in the BPU Outreach programme, which would also be organised in Kedah, Pahang, Terengganu and Sarawak.

He said the programme would emphasise on forging engagement with Asean and to brief on the implementation on the goods and services tax besides sharing information on Bumiputera development programme organised by BPU, MITI and their agencies. — Bernama