KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia attracted investments worth RM329.5 billion last year - the highest since the establishment of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) in 1967, said its outgoing chief executive officer Datuk Arham Abdul Rahman (pix).

Notably, Arham, who was appointed to lead the agency back in April 2021, said it was indeed a remarkable success for the country in attracting foreign and domestic investments as well as achieving a favourable ranking in the US economic think tank Milken Institute’s Global Opportunity Index (GOI) 2024 last month.

“This success is a testament to our collective efforts. Not only MITI and MIDA, but this is about the whole country and also the government’s approach and initiatives that involve other ministries and agencies,“ he told Bernama in an interview here today.

The 61-year-old chief executive officer, who has served MIDA for 34 years and eight months, reminded that they should not rest on their laurels in boosting efforts to promote Malaysia’s attractiveness as other neighbouring countries are also eyeing a piece of the investment cake. “Even though we have achieved a good record in terms of the investments secured, especially in 2023, my advice is that we should not be complacent because there is still a lot of work to be done,“ he added.

Creation of jobs, economic resilience

On accomplishing objectives of the New Industrial Master Plan 2030 (NIMP 2030), Arham said the profile of investments has moved towards higher value-added and innovation-focused activities. Malaysia is very focused on attracting quality investments. He said this is to ensure that Malaysians can benefit from the jobs created and to secure the economy’s future and resilience.

“Malaysia is no longer dependent on low-skilled, labour-intensive investments but is focusing more on capital, knowledge and technology-intensive investments to create high-paying, high-quality jobs and contribute to sustainable investments aligned with Net-Zero objectives.

“Quality investment will spur the domestic investment landscape through knowledge and technology transfer,“ he added.

Therefore, Arham said MIDA would continue to attract targeted strategic projects with incentives under the National Committee on Investment (NCI) to develop local talents through internship programmes and to develop local vendors through the Vendor Development Programme (VDP).

He highlighted that the NIMP 2030 would guide Malaysia in attracting quality investments over the next six years, complementing broader national policies including the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the 12th Malaysia Plan and the MADANI Economy Framework.

He said Malaysia’s targeted approach to foreign investments has so far been very effective in maximising the benefits while mitigating potential risks.

“It allows us to strike a balance between openness to foreign capital and safeguarding national interests, ultimately contributing to sustainable and inclusive economic development,“ he said.