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Monday, 17 September 2007

Malaysia: A Destination of Choice for Foreign Investors

MANAMA, 17 September 2007 — Malaysia, which had issued the world’s first global sovereign $600 million Malaysian global Sukuk, ranks first in Sukuk issuance with 67 percent of global outstanding Islamic bond market, said Ambassador Naimun Mohammed Ashkali on the occasion of 50 independence day here, adding that Malaysia would continue to build its reputation as one of the most sophisticated and advanced country as part of a long term strategy. Highlighting the salient features of Malaysian economy, the ambassador said that Malaysia has emerged as a destination of choice for foreign investors. Malaysia had attracted over BD2 billion in foreign direct investment (FDIs) in 2006 in the first half of this year, with total volume of FDIs crossing BD1.4 billion mark, indicating a surge in this segment by the end of the year. Malaysia’s services sector is the largest sector in the economy, contributing 52.4 percent to GDP and 48.6 percent to total employment in 2000. The government views the services sector as a catalyst for growth and national development. “Last year, the national GDP was at $313.8 billion with a growth of 5.9 percent, of which $10.3 billion came from the tourism sector — making it as the second economic contributor for 2006. The services sector accounts about 54 percent of the national GDP. The ambassador said the tourism industry has experienced a rapid growth and gained an importance in the Malaysian economy. “It is the second largest foreign exchange earner after manufacturing. This is in line with the government’s objective to accelerate the domestic private sector and stimulate the services sector to spearhead economic growth.” He said the government has redefined priorities aimed at enhancing the role of vital sectors in the national development such as tourism. He said: “Malaysian tourism authority has undertaken efforts to position Malaysia as a leading international shopping destination. The mega sales carnivals held on a nationwide basis were successful in attracting more shoppers. Each mega sale has managed to attract additional half a million foreign visitors from the neighboring countries on top of the normal tourist arrivals. For instance, in 2003, the retail sector made up just over 13 percent of Malaysia’s GDP and employed about 730,000 workers, or 7 percent of the total work force. The retail sector made a 10.2 percent growth in sales over the same period in 2004. Its relations to other sectors of the economy, such as wholesaling, advertisement and promotions, info technology and logistics, ensure it that it has a pivotal role to play. “Education tourism has become popular as reflected by the demand for tours to visit schools to enable students from other countries to gain knowledge of the school education system as well as experience the Malaysian school atmosphere, which is unique with the social interaction of the various ethnic groups besides contributing to the national economy.” - (AN, 17 Sep 07)
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