US companies firmly established in Malaysia, says Mustapa on impact of Trump's policy change

RUPA DAMODARAN


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia does not foresee policy shifts by US President Donald Trump’s administration being able to push American investors back to the US, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed today.


He said many of the American companies have been in Malaysia for over four decades and `entrenched here’ as part of a global supply chain.


Any uprooting will only be detrimental to the global operations, he said.


As to whether the new policies unfurled in Washington D.C would impact the expansion plans to the multinational corporations already in Malaysia, Mustapa said it was too

early to tell as the Trump administration has not tracked 100 days yet.


“Expansion has got to do with confidence in a country’s long term and medium term potential, economic management, facilitation and leadership rather than short term

currency changes,” he said during question time after releasing the 2016 investment numbers.


“We believe Malaysia will be a big draw to foreign investors including the Americans. There are challenges but we have to work harder to put Malaysia on the map.”


Osram in Penang is one example of a pioneer electronic company which has continued to expand and diversify its operations in the country.


Malaysian American Electronics Industry (MAEI) chairman Datuk Wong Siew Hai also addressed the growing concerns about the Trump administration’s policies and pulling

back of factories.


"I don’t think that (pulling back of factories) will happen due to the whole supply chain existing in Asia.”


As to processes like assembly tests and design activities, Wong said American companies plan to continue growing in this region.


On China-US tensions said that could likely have some impact since the US has a huge investing presence in Malaysia especially in the electrical and electronic (E&E) sector

while in trade both countries are large, accounting for 25 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade.


The trade minister also said Malaysia should accept that future growth rates in investments and trade would be modest unlike previous decades.


Earlier during presentation, he acknowledged that the investment in real estate but he expect controls from central banks and local authorities to come in.