LONDON: Malaysia seeks investments in the high-technology sector in line with the country’s goals of providing high income for its people, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad here yesterday.
“This is our need today…Our people are now better trained and many are graduates from universities and we cannot expect them to do manual work like assembling things like we used to do before.
“We need them to be engineers who will be working with new equipment, new machinery and will be familiar with the need to maintain and repair the machines that do the work,” he said in his opening speech during a roundtable meeting with the British business community organised by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE).
Representatives from 50 organisations including leading business corporations like Thales, Jardine Matheson, HSBC Holdings Plc, BAE Systems, Shell, Standard Chartered, and Prudential attended the event.
Representatives from leading British universities were also there. Also present at the roundtable were Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and MIDA chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud.
British prime minister’s trade envoy to Indonesia, Malaysia and the Phillipines Richard Graham was also present. The roundtable was on the itinerary of Dr Mahathir’s three-day working visit to the United Kingdom (UK) beginning last Saturday.
“We are already receiving FDI (foreign direct investment) and we have acquired lots of foreign technologies and today of course we are into IT (information technology) and want to exploit the new business and methods so as to grow our country as fast as possible.
“Of course, when we were small, we were growing at a rate of 11 or 12 per cent. But now with a bigger economy, growth of the same volume will be reflected by a smaller percentage.
“So we are still growing at a rate of more than four per cent and we hope we can do better this year with 4.4 or 4.6 per cent,” he said.
Dr Mahathir also pointed out at the outset of the roundtable that Malaysia’s policies were not far from the original ones and it still needed investments to grow.
While there were domestic investments, he said they were far too small to bring enough technologies to upgrade the earnings of the people.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia was very comfortable with UK investors as English is also spoken in Malaysia and this could help facilitate businesses.
“I think British investors will find Malaysia a very comfortable place to invest and I hope to hear from you, what you would like us to do in order to make Malaysia more attractive,” he said.
The prime minister pointed out Malaysia was already a business-friendly nation and was ever ready to fine tune its policies to accommodate investors as business creates jobs and wealth for the country. — Bernama