Focused on providing tailored assistance to the new investors in Malaysia, the British-Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (BMCC) ensures that every new company is instantly assimilated in the dynamic business network consisting of British and European investors and local companies. Andrew Sill, the Chairman of BMCC, discusses the bilateral relations between the countries, highlighting the investment incentives of Malaysia.
European Times: Please elaborate on the political and economic relations between the UK and Malaysia.
Andrew Sill: The UK and Malaysia has nurtured strong bilateral relations for over 50 years, noting many similarities in the governmental, legal and education systems, which create understanding, trust and a fertile business outlook between the two countries.
Considering the future perspectives, the promotion of London as the Islamic banking centre of Europe, deepens the connection between the two countries, considering that Malaysia tends to position itself as the Islamic banking centre for Asia. Additionally, the development of Halal food parks and distribution centres in the UK, and the UK investments in education facilities in Malaysia, complements the broadening of the bilateral relations between the countries.
European Times: What are the specific areas of interest for the UK investors in Malaysia?
Andrew Sill: The large amount of UK institutions that set up operations in Malaysia, coupled with Malaysia’s central position in ASEAN, create increased investment interest in education. In this context, the University of Nottingham & Harriot Watt University built campuses near Kuala Lumpur, and the Southampton, Reading and Newcastle Universities have invested in stand-alone campuses in Johor. The British schools have a long-lasting tradition in Malaysia as well, including Alice Smith, Epsom and Marlborough College.
Additionally, numerous flagship British companies are working in the financial sector, including HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Lloyds Register, Prudential and Rothschild, and the most successful British investors in the wider services and manufacturing sectors include companies such as Rolls Royce, BAE, Mott-MacDonald, Petrofac, Dyson, GSK, BP, Jardine and TESCO.
European Times: Why should foreign investors target Malaysia?
Andrew Sill: Malaysia offers a business-friendly environment supported by a professional and comprehensive approach of promotional agencies such as the Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and Invest KL. The country is extensively investing in infrastructure projects, such as the new ports on the East Coast, the Melaka gateway and the high-speed rail link to Singapore, aiming to increase the connectivity of the region.
Additionally, an easily accessible and comprehensible package of incentives positions Malaysia high on the map in terms of foreign direct investment, which is complemented by the development of Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) zones that strengthen the country’s position as a service location and a technology hub, the Belt and Road Initiative with China, and the development of duty-free trade zones. In terms of geographic location, Malaysia can be easily considered a regional ASEAN base for many companies that are interested in setting up manufacturing operations, and use the country as a distribution centre for a broader ASEAN initiative.