Renewed Interest Among OIC Nations To Look At Investment Opportunities

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 (Bernama) — There is renewed
interest among the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) countries
to look at trade and investment opportunities within member countries.

“Due to the global economic downturn, there seem to be a shift in
interest among investors from the Muslim countries, mainly oil and
gas-rich countries,” said Deputy International Trade and Industry
Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

Speaking at a press conference after officiating the MuslimBIG
2010 Business and Investment Gala here Thursday, he said OIC member
countries were now reducing their participation in economic activities
in developed nations and looking at developing countries.

“So, we have seen some good indicators that they are willing to
invest in other Muslim countries. This is about time but unfortunately
we have to wait for global economic recovery before that happens,” said

The MuslimBIG 2010, which will be held for the first time in
Malaysia between June 4 and June 6, 2010, will be a ground-breaking
event for the global Islamic business community to meet, interact and
transact business.

To date, total trade among Islamic countries stood at a staggering
US$2 trillion with the European Union, the United States and China
controlling 84 per cent of the volume while Muslim nations controlled a
meagre 16 per cent.

Stressing that the global halal market potential was about US$7
trillion, Mukhriz said intra-trade among OIC countries cannot be
ignored, adding that it has always been Malaysia’s policy to look at
trading with lesser known economies such as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

“Speculative investments such as in housing mortgages in the
United States, created the economic crisis. That has brought a lot of
attention to syariah-compliant economic activities and financial

“We are hoping to see more trade and investment as well as other business activities coming out from that,” Mukhriz said.

He said other economies, such as the Commonwealth of Independent
States, which are not well-known, were developing and rich in natural
resources and may be keen to trade with Malaysia.

“This is something we should exploit because the potential is great,” he added.

Asked on the impact to the economy, Mukhriz said: “There is a
compounding effect and the growth is quite substantial. Unfortunately,
I am not able to give exact figures because it is very relative.”

Mukhriz said one trade barrier among Muslim countries was the
technology and innovation which in the West, provided good investment

“There has been new and innovative technologies coming out from
Malaysia, Pakistan and other Muslim countries, but it is very
competitive. It is tough to convince, even among Muslim investors, to
invest in Muslim-based technology,” he explained.

Asked on Budget 2010, Mukhriz said incentives to attract foreign
direct investments into Malaysia would be among the highlights of the
budget in order to sustain the country’s business environment.

“I will not be able to say what specific incentives the Prime Minister will announce tomorrow. Let’s wait and see.

“But, what’s for sure is, besides balancing both foreign direct
investments and domestic investments, it is also important that the
domestic sector must be developed internationally.

Mukhriz also said Malaysia should emulate South Korea, Japan and
Taiwan in developing their domestic economies rather than being over
dependent on international trade to spur economic growth.