Malaysia to play role for connecting Pakistan with ASEAN

ISLAMABAD, Jun 05 (APP): Acting high Commissioner of Malaysia to Pakistan Deddy Faisal Ahmad Salleh on Sunday said that his country can play a major role in providing Islamabad with economic and trade opportunities in the Association of East Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional bloc.

Malaysia will provide wider opportunities for the Pakistani business community to connect with a big market like ASEAN countries, Ambassador Deddy Faisal Ahmad Salleh told APP here in an exclusive talk.

The Ambassador said that Malaysia could prove to be a gateway in the ASEAN region for Pakistan, which would open up a market for Pakistan with a population of 681 million in the ASEAN region.

Replying to a question, the acting high commissioner said there was a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Malaysia which had to bring the business communities of both the countries closer to make it more effective.

He said that currently, Malaysia has seven bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the following countries: Australia, Chile, India, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Turkey.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members have established the ASEAN Free Trade (FTA) area also.

”I call upon the business community of Pakistan to be the partner and catalyst for reform, to drive sustainability and to contribute to our collective goal of shared prosperity,” he said.

He also said that Pakistan remains an important economic partner for Malaysia and this was demonstrated most prominently by our bilateral economic, trade and investment relations, which continue to grow from strength to strength despite the global challenges throughout the decades.

He urged both Malaysian and Pakistani businesses, chambers and associations to have more frequent interactions, besides leveraging on each other’s strength and capacity and work together to enrich the value of investments.

The Ambassador said that Malaysia has always been an open trading nation and preferred investment destination and will continue to remain so driven by our Unique Value Proposition to investors.

He said that trade, at its very foundations, is about people connecting across the world.

The Ambassador said that Malaysia stands out to be the leading global ‘Halal Food Market’ with an annual export value of RM35.4 billion for halal products, which contributes approximately 5.1% of the total exports for the country.

He informed the country provides the world’s first halal in-flight catering on board its national carrier, Malaysia Airlines.

The Malaysian halal standard is now being widely used by several renowned global multinational companies (MNCs) including Nestlé and Unilever, he added.

He said that Malaysia’s halal portfolio has also expanded beyond food and beverage, venturing into various other sectors such as cosmetics, logistics, pharmaceutical and most recently, tourism.

Replying to another question, he said that Malaysia’s ongoing investment promotion efforts have successfully kept us on the map of investors.

“We believe that it is crucial to keep our investment policies relevant, resilient and responsive to the evolving ecosystem” he said.

Faisal said that Malaysia is currently undertaking concerted efforts to review our existing policies and restructure our investment strategy to ensure that implementation of high-impact projects can be expedited.

“Our new investment strategies will provide the necessary impetus to pursue high-technology and sustainable investments as well as to intensify innovation, striking a balance between economic and environmental sustainability, while reducing dependency on foreign labour, in line with global benchmarks in environment, social and governance.”

Malaysian envoy said this was clearly reflective of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Keluarga Malaysia concept which focuses on inclusion, togetherness and gratitude aimed at bringing the people together in helping the country recover from the debilitating Covid-19.

He said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is optimistic that Malaysia’s economy will expand by 5.75 per cent this year, driven by pent-up domestic demand and continued strong external demand.

This is in line with the government’s growth projection of between 5.3 per cent and 6.3 per cent for 2022.

“Our economy expanded by 3.1 per cent last year.”
Malaysia’s financial sector remains resilient and that it was encouraged by its reforms that focused on inclusion, economic transformation, and a sustainable economy, he said.