Putrajaya to emphasize on investor-friendly policies in Budget 2021, 12th Malaysia Plan

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 15): The government, which is working on its Budget 2021 and the 12th Malaysia Plan, will look at being more investor-friendly, according to Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz.

Malaysia’s position as a preferred investment destination also remains strong, said Tengku Zafrul, despite current global economic uncertainties, thanks to the various government economic initiatives and efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic within the country.

"There are green shoots of recovery across multiple economic fronts, thanks to prudent practice in containing Covid-19, and the implementation of the RM295 billion PRIHATIN and PENJANA economic revitalisation plans," he said during the presentation of a cheque worth RM1.24 billion by IWH-CREC Sdn Bhd to TRX City Sdn Bhd today.

The minister also noted that the country's unemployment rate has declined from its peak of 5.3% in May, while monthly production numbers have continued to show growth since April. He also referred to Bank Negara Malaysia' decision to keep the overnight policy rate or OPR unchanged at 1.75% at its recent Monetary Policy Committee meeting, which signalled the central bank's confidence in the sustainability of the country's economic recovery.

"In the Malaysian stock market, the increased retail participation and a swing back of foreign inflows, is proof of market confidence towards our ongoing recovery. In the bond market, foreigners remain net buyers of Malaysian bonds for four straight months, from May to August 2020, with total inflows of RM23.1 billion, signaling long term confidence in Malaysia’s stability and growth trajectory," Zafrul said.

At the same time, the ringgit, meanwhile, has emerged as one of the best performers among ASEAN currencies in recent months, he said.

The government's concerted efforts have helped place Malaysia on a stronger footing, Zafrul said, with Bank Negara Malaysia, as well as international agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, expecting the country's gross domestic production (GDP) growth to come in between 5.5% and 8% in 2021.

"[So] we invite more investors to join us and take advantage of this strong recovery path," he said, adding incentives are given for businesses to invest, as well as to relocate their operations here under the PENJANA economic revitalisation plan.

Meanwhile, Zafrul said mammoth projects such as Bandar Malaysia has the potential to unlock tremendous benefits to almost all sectors of the economy.

"This is no ordinary development. We are building what is being touted as the single largest integrated and intelligent new city in ASEAN. With a gross development value of RM140 billion, Bandar Malaysia will also be the biggest development of its kind in our country.

"With the right execution, the economic multiplier effect to the rest of the country will be immense. This is the underlying objective, [and it is] in line with the government’s vision to ensure prosperity for all Malaysians," Zafrul said.

The cheque IWC-CREC presented to Ministry of Finance's wholly-owned TRX City today is the settlement of a promised upfront payment for the purchase of a 60% stake in Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Bandar Malaysia's master developer. IWH-CREC is a joint venture between Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) and China state-owned enterprise, China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC).

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Tan Choe Choe