KUALA LUMPUR: China is keen to help Malaysia create more high-income jobs to boost the economy.
Its ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian said this was because 33 per cent of the China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) here involved the manufacturing sector.
This, he said, included US$900 million (about RM3.72 billion) for a recycled paper plant in Kedah and another US$500 million (about RM2.06 billion) milling factory in Johor.
“Malaysia is China’s largest trading partner with US$108.6 billion (about RM448.52 billion) in deals for last year alone.
“We expect China’s FDI here to increase very soon when your prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) visits Beijing on Thursday, with several important trade deals expected to be clinched,
“Dr Mahathir is scheduled to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Xinping and premier Li Keqiang,” said Bai at a recent media roundtable at the China embassy in Jalan Ampang.
He was referring to Dr Mahathir leading a high-powered delegation to Beijing for the 2nd Belt and Road Initiative Summit (also known as the One Belt, One Road).
Although Bai declined to divulge details on the deals, The New Straits Times understands that much of it will involve trade offsets involving the increased sale of Malaysian palm oil to China.
Last month, China injected US$890 million (about RM3.69 billion) into Malaysia’s economy by purchasing 1.6 million tonnes of palm oil.
And it is keen to not only increase the purchase to greater amounts, following good demand from its 1.4 billion population, but assist Malaysia in improving the crops' yield.
Bai said the revived RM44 billion East Coast Rail Link alone was expected to shore up Malaysia’s economy by spurring job spin-offs and FDI.
“We are also looking forward to offering the high-speed rail (HSR) as China offers the world’s best engineering and construction.
“Our national HSR grid spans 30,000km as the world’s longest and our trains can run up to 350km per hour, in the hottest and coldest environment,” said Bai.
Bai said an increase of 30 per cent in three million tourists visited Malaysia last year, with 1.29 million Malaysians visiting China for the same period.
“There are 15,733 students from China here, with 9,479 Malaysian studying in China.
“The Xiamen University here has 3,000 students, comprising one-third from China, Malaysia and other countries, respectively,” said Bai.
China’s overseas investment, Bai said, accounted for US$750 billion.
On the BRI, Bai said that it accounted for US$6 trillion in trade with the 150 participating countries, with alone China investing US$80 trillion in it.
“The BRI created 240,000 jobs, generating US$2 billion in revenue.
“The BRI has cleared uncertainties through consultation for a free, fair, just, open, inclusive and win-win trade that benefits many countries.
“It does not harbour any hidden political agenda,” he said.