KUALA LUMPUR: The government is optimistic that the trade and investment targets set for this year are achievable despite the ringgit’s current depreciation versus the US dollar, as many other major fundamentals remain attractive and appealing to global investors.

Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said investors would look at the long term and fundamentals in making their decisions.

“Ringgit is one of the major factors. They want to see the stability of the ringgit and I think we are within the stable range,” he told reporters after launching BYD Malaysia’s latest electric vehicle marque, BYD Seal today.

Tengku Zafrul said investors would usually take between six months and up to one year to decide on their investments, and up to two years to set up their factory in the respective country, therefore they would not look at currency fluctuations too much.

Investments are important for economic growth, he said, noting that investments currently account for about 22% of Malaysia’s national gross domestic product (GDP).

“To make investments one of the key engines of growth, we need to double the amount. When the percentage of investment to GDP increases, it will boost Malaysia's economic growth.

“We can’t just depend on consumption and government spending,“ he added.

Tengku Zafrul said the government is looking at a 5% growth in trade this year, slightly higher than the 3% global trade growth projected by the World Trade Organisation.

Meanwhile, BYD Malaysia Sdn Bhd revealed its prices for the newly launched electric vehicle (EV) sedan BYD Seal – RM179,000 for the premium variant and RM199,800 for the performance variant.

BYD Seal is the first model equipped with innovative cell-to-body technology, seamlessly integrating the blade battery into the vehicle’s structure, ensuring stability and safety under diverse conditions.

In his speech, Tengku Zafrul called for multinational EV companies with existing investments in Malaysia to foresee long-term business and leverage the country’s compelling proposition to expand their investments here.

He said the global EV automakers are welcome to consider making Malaysia their regional hub to access the fast-growing Asean EV market.

“We have been collectively and actively working to create an enabling environment for the EV ecosystem to thrive, from providing incentives to local assembly and manufacturing of EVs to facilitating the development of the nation's EV charging infrastructure.

“Our efforts are aimed at creating a sustainable and robust EV ecosystem in Malaysia,” he told reporters after the launch.

Tengku Zafrul said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry hoped to double the number of EV charging stations nationwide by the end of this year from 2,000 units currently.

He also said the increase in sales and service tax, which will go up from 6% to 8% starting March 1, would not have an impact on sales of EVs in Malaysia as the government has exempted the tax on EV purchases until 2025 to promote the development of the industry.

Meanwhile, he noted that the decision on the new EV road tax structure has been concluded at the national EV steering committee level, whereby an announcement on the matter will be made in the near term.

BYD’s global new energy vehicle sales totalled 3.02 million in 2023, and up to February 2024, its total sales amounted to 6.5 million. – Bernama

Clickable Image
Clickable Image
Clickable Image