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Continuous investment flows from Taiwan seen

KUALA LUMPUR: Investments from Taiwan are expected to continue despite the change in the domestic political landscape, said Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia representative James Chang Chi-ping (pix).

“Taiwanese businesses have had presence in Malaysia for 30 years. I believe investments from Taiwan will continue to flow in … our relationship with Malaysia has been good in the past, I believe more efforts will be put in to boost the relationship,” he told SunBiz in his last interview here in Malaysia.

Chang, who has served for two years and nine months in Malaysia, will be transferred back to Taiwan at the end of this month.

He said the Taiwanese have been investing heavily in Malaysia across all different segments, bringing accumulative foreign direct investment from Taiwan to Malaysia to US$12.4 billion (RM49.6 billion) as at end-2017.

Last year, trade between Malaysia and Taiwan saw a 24.6% increase to US$17.59 billion from US$14.1 billion in 2016. Currently, Taiwan is Malaysia's fourth largest foreign investor, and was the seventh largest trading partner in 2017.

A total of 1,700 Taiwan businesses have operations in Malaysia, of which more than 20 are listed firms.

“Their operations have been running well in Malaysia with 100,000 workers being employed,” Chang said when asked if the businesses encountered any challenges in Malaysia.

He said Taiwan is aiming to strengthen its ties with Malaysia through its Southbound Policy, which was initiated in 2016 to foster trade collaboration, talent exchanges, resource sharing and regional links with 18 countries, including the 10 Asean countries as well as Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

However, he explained that the policy is not intended to compete with China's Belt and Road initiative.

“As long as there are opportunities, we're keen on any partnerships, evidenced by the strong trade growth between Malaysia and Taiwan across different sectors.”

Citing Hotayi Electronic Sdn Bhd's RM1 billion expansion in Penang as an example, Chang said it was a huge investment by the Taiwanese firm last year with the creation of 1,000 new jobs.

Chang said technology transfer is one of the benefits that can be gained from the investments in Malaysia. “We see more room for partnerships under the Southbound Policy.”

In the tourism segment, he said the number of Malaysian tourists to Taiwan rose 11.3% to 528,019 in 2017 from 474,420 in 2016, while the number of Taiwan tourists to Malaysia grew 10.7% to 332,927 in 2017 from 300,860 in 2016.

“Among the Asean countries, Malaysia is the highest source of tourists for Taiwan. We're looking for more tourists from Malaysia, including Muslim tourists.”

According to Chang, Taiwan has about 150 halal or Muslim-friendly restaurants and up to 13 tourist spots equipped with prayer rooms.

In education, there are 17,079 Malaysian students studying in Taiwan compared with 14,942 students two years ago. Of the 30,000 Asean students in Taiwan, Malaysia has the highest share with 48%.


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Australia’s Lendlease says it’s committed to developing TRX Lifestyle Quarter

KUALA LUMPUR: Lendlease says it remains fully committed to transforming the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) Lifestyle Quarter into one of its largest urban regeneration developments globally.

The Australian developer and infrastructure firm has partnered with TRX City Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Finance Ministry, to develop TRX Lifestyle Quarter.
“This significant city project will provide thousands of new jobs, leading technology and the best international standards of design and sustainability contributing to the future of Kuala Lumpur.

“Lifestyle Quarter includes seamless connections to the new MRT network and adjoining public plazas. Leasing, design and construction all continue to make very positive progress,” Lendlease told Bernama.

The 6.88ha Lifestyle Quarter is a central part of the overall TRX financial district master plan and includes a lifestyle retail mall, restaurants, hospitality and leisure offerings, residential condominiums and a city park.

Lendlease said the project would be delivered through its integrated business model, which would be leveraged throughout the course of delivery.

“Lendlease has been delivering projects across a broad range of sectors in Malaysia for over three decades, and we remain committed to Malaysia and will continue to build on our presence here. We are open to exploring any good investment opportunities that may come our way,” it added.

On Thursday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that the government decided to proceed with the TRX project and inject an additional funding of RM2.8 billion into the project, bringing the total funding by the government to RM6.5 billion.

Lim said the RM2.8 billion injection would create confidence among foreign investors who have invested in the project.

TRX City had sold parcels of land to local and foreign investors such as Mulia Property Development, HSBC, Affin Bank, Lembaga Tabung Haji, WCT, Lendlease and IJM.