‘OBOR to boost tourism, education sectors’
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.