China has continued to be the largest trading partner with Malaysia for the eighth consecutive year since 2009.
“Our trade with China has increased by 32.3 percent to RM25.21 billion, accounting for 16.4 percent of our total trade. We need more however, to sustain these growth figures into the future. It might be a lot more difficult without the right infrastructure development which Malaysia is actively pursuing with the help of local and international smart partnerships said Datuk Seri Ir. Dr. Wee Ka Siong, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
“It is here that we must remember that China views Malaysia as a major long-term partner with its confidence to co-invest here with a huge range of infrastructure projects that aims to achieve major cascading economic breakthrough into the future,” he added.
Wee was delivering his keynote address at a finance forum organised by Tsinghua University People’s Bank of China School of Finance (Tsinghua PBCSF) and hosted by CIMB Group held yesterday, at Menara CIMB, Kuala Lumpur Sentral. The forum, with the theme “Opportunities for Malaysia and China entrepreneurs under the Belt and Road initiative”, addressed an audience comprising of heads of corporations from five (5) countries across Asia.
The forum also featured a discussion panel by five (5) prominent personalities from China and Malaysia i.e., Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Michael Yeoh, Co-Founder and CEO of The Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI), Tan Sri Dr. Francis Yeoh Sock Ping, Group Managing Director of YTL Corporation; Zhu Jianmin, Vice President of Country Garden Holdings; Song Juntao, eWTP Project Leader, Alibaba Group and Ju Jiandong, Professor of Tsinghua University PBC School of Finance spoke at the forum.
“In recent years, Southeast Asian countries have constantly advanced their exchanges with China in the hope of attracting more investment from China, cementing logistics and infrastructure cooperation, strengthening people-to-people exchanges, connecting facilities, smoothing economic trade and promoting economic reciprocity. Tsinghua PBCSF expects to contribute to the improvement of China-ASEAN relations through its finance programmes, like its highly acclaimed ‘Belt & Road Finance EMBA Program for Southeast Asia’ launched in May 2017, and through study trips by Chinese entrepreneurs to Southeast Asia to widen their network and share best practices on finance and management, resource allocation optimisation and enterprise development acceleration. By deepening each other's knowledge of the economic growth and potential of China and ASEAN, we will create better opportunities for global cooperation and development,” said Wang Jingwei, Assistant Dean of Tsinghua PBCSF.
Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz, Group Chief Executive, CIMB Group, said “The Belt and Road initiative’s socio-economic aspiration is to connect 65% of the global population generating one third of the world’s GDP, providing opportunities for trade and infrastructure that will also spur innovation and foster smart partnerships. Through cooperation and a focus on win-win solutions, the Belt and Road initiative will not only strengthen ASEAN’s role as a hub connecting the East and West, but also pave the way for Asia to play a stronger leadership role in ensuring a global agenda that is more inclusive of Asia and more cognizant of its peoples’ values and aspirations.”
During the forum discussion, there was general consensus that the Belt and Road Initiative could be the next growth catalyst for ASEAN. Challenges highlighted and discussed include the different development rates of various ASEAN countries, equitable financing for less developed countries and ensuring inclusive development for all.
The forum saw an impressive participation of chief executives from 45 regional corporations including Joseph Chee, Former President of Investment Bank, United Bank of Switzerland; Datuk Seri Cheah Cheng Hye, Chairman of Value Partners Group, also known as “Warren Buffet of Asia”; Max Kuok Meng Xiong, Director of Shangri-La Hotels Lanka (Private) Ltd; Yeoh Keong Hann, Director of BD of YTL Power International Berhad; Justin Chen, Vice President of Alibaba Group; Roderick Purwana, Managing Partner of Sinar Mas Digital Ventures and many others.