CHENNAI: Indian businessmen have been urged to capitalise on Malaysia's wealth of opportunities and conducive trading environment and turn the country into a gateway to Asean and beyond.
Speaking to Indian captains of industry at the Malaysian Associated India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) here this morning, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said there was enormous potential in investing and conducting business in Malaysia.
"With our highly diversified economy, strong manufacturing foundation, developed infrastructure and connectivity, proactive government policies and sound legal system, we believe that there is enormous potential for further cooperation between India and Malaysia, and that our country can be your gateway for Asean and beyond.
"I urge all of you to take advantage of the wealth of opportunities offered by Malaysia. We are a friendly country with the highest percentage of the Indian diaspora outside India, with 7.3 percent of our population being of Indian origin.
"The vast majority of them are Tamilians. The market is open for your business and ideas."
Najib also shared with the businessmen Malaysia's commitment to exploit the huge potential of e-Commerce to enhance convergence in the global supply chain.
"Just last month, Jack Ma of Alibaba and I launched the Digital Free Trade Zone – the first in the world.
"This initiative is part of our National e-Commerce strategy roadmap, and will offer a conducive environment for digital companies to carry out their businesses.
"There will be enormous opportunities for investors, and we would like to invite you to take advantage of this new growth area in Malaysia."
In 2016 alone, Malaysia was Chennai’s 9th largest export destination and 7th largest source of imports. Overall, India was Malaysia’s 10th largest trading partner, accounting for 3.3 percent, or USD11.7 billion, of our total trade.
Main exports to India include palm oil and palm-based products, electrical and electronic products, crude petroleum, metal and chemical products.
Meanwhile, the main imports from India are petroleum, agricultural, metal and chemical products, and machinery and equipment.
Malaysian companies such as Tune Hotels, IJM Corp and UMW Corporation have also been expanding their operations in India.
Najib is on a six-day visit to India. He will meet Malaysians and students living here and perform Friday prayers before flying off to New Delhi where a slew of major meetings and events have been lined up.
He will also have events in Jaipur as part of the visit. Some RM30 billion worth of deals are expected to be signed during his trip.