‘OBOR to boost tourism, ed­u­ca­tion sec­tors’

New Straits Times - - News -

KUALA LUMPUR: The lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity has ex­pressed sup­port for China’s One Belt, One Road Ini­tia­tive (OBOR), say­ing it will build stronger busi­ness ties be­tween Malaysia and all coun­tries in­volved.

Malaysia-China Cham­ber of Com­merce (MCCC) pres­i­dent Tan Yew Sing yes­ter­day said OBOR was not con­fined to China, and Malaysia should look into ways to ben­e­fit from it.

“Al­though China has its own plans to ben­e­fit its peo­ple, I think this ini­tia­tive will have an over­flow of mu­tual ben­e­fits.

“There are a lot of govern­ment-to-govern­ment projects be­ing ne­go­ti­ated.

“Sev­eral agree­ments have been signed be­tween China and Malaysia,” he said yes­ter­day.

Tan said OBOR would have an im­me­di­ate pos­i­tive eco­nomic im­pact on the coun­try’s tourism and ed­u­ca­tion sec­tors.

He said the two sec­tors would ex­pe­ri­ence fur­ther growth fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of the High-Speed Rail, Pan-Asia Rail­way Net­work and East-Coast Rail Link.

“These projects have caught the eye of the world, and China is very keen to be part of them. This in­cludes in­vest­ing in Malaysia.

“The set tar­get of Chi­nese tourists to Malaysia is four mil­lion at the mo­ment.

“This may seem like a very am­bi­tious tar­get, but I think it is at­tain­able once our in­fra­struc­ture projects are ready.”

He said China was keen on the min­ing, nat­u­ral re­sources and plan­ta­tion in­dus­tries, all of which were Malaysia’s main sources of rev­enue.

“These re­sources are much needed by Chi­nese in­dus­tries.”

Other sec­tors that would el­e­vate Malaysia’s sta­tus in the eco­nomic arena, Tan said, were the halal and Is­lamic fi­nance sec­tors.

“China knows they have a big­ger pop­u­la­tion of Mus­lims com­pared with Malaysia, but they are not as strong with Is­lamic fi­nanc­ing and the halal con­cept.

“Malaysia is a very open coun­try with a large Muslim pop­u­la­tion and China is very keen to work with us in these ar­eas.”

He said Malaysia should also lever­age China’s strength in re­search and devel­op­ment.

“When we talk about China hav­ing strong cap­i­tals, we are not just talk­ing about money, but also man­power.

“China has a very high out­put of re­search and devel­op­ment per­son­nel and Malaysia is not well known for that.”

Tan said small- and medi­um­sized en­ter­prises would ben­e­fit from OBOR.

“Malaysia must be well pre­pared to ne­go­ti­ate the best deal and re­mind China that they must take into ac­count Malaysia’s lo­cal cul­ture to main­tain a sus­tain­able re­la­tion­ship.

“This is also the fo­cus of MCCC at the mo­ment.

“We are work­ing to­wards achiev­ing mu­tual ben­e­fits be­tween Malaysia and China.”

Econ­o­mist and group chair­man of PKT Lo­gis­tics Group Sdn Bhd Datuk Jalilah Baba said OBOR would see Malaysia re­trac­ing the con­nec­tion be­tween the Me­laka sul­tanate and China’s famed Ad­mi­ral Cheng Ho in the 15th cen­tury.

“Those days, Cheng Ho trav­elled by ship, but to­day, we hope to re­vive the eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties us­ing this ‘belt’ of coun­tries that he trav­elled through.

“We want to see Malaysia’s busi­nesses ties with China en­hanced and in­crease Chi­nese in­vest­ments in Malaysia.”

Jalilah, who is also for­mer di­rec­tor-gen­eral and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Malaysian In­vest­ment Devel­op­ment Author­ity, said OBOR would boost bi­lat­eral in­vest­ments and busi­ness be­tween Malaysia and par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries.

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