14/03/2024 03:33 AM

From D. Arul Rajoo

BERLIN, March 13 (Bernama) -- Malaysia today made an open invitation to German firms, as well as businesses across Europe, to engage, invest, and partner with a dynamic, strategic and growing Malaysia.

In making the call, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Malaysia has a skilled labour force, modern infrastructure, a clear regulatory environment, and huge growth potential. 

“We are a dynamic economic fit for the 21st century and the perfect partner for German businesses,” he said in his keynote address at the SME Day here.

Held at the Berlin Station and organised by the German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW), it brings together about 5,000 SMEs with prominent government and corporate figures.

Anwar, who is on a six-day official visit to the third largest economy in the world, said Malaysia also provides Germany with a strategic gateway into the wider Asean market. “Asean is set to emerge as the world's fifth-largest economy by 2030. The region is primed for exponential growth,” he added. 

Over the past decade, Germany has remained Malaysia's top trading partner in the European Union, while Malaysia is now the country’s largest trading partner in Southeast Asia. 

Bilateral trade has grown by leaps and bounds, at an annual average of 5.2 per cent. Malaysia continues to be an attractive destination for FDIs with German companies investing 8.5 billion euros as of 2023.

Anwar, who is also the Finance Minister, said foreign investors can benefit from various efforts taken by the government to ease the doing of business, build confidence in the Malaysian system, and ultimately, ensure long-term stability in the country.  

SMEs and the digital economy

During meetings with German businesses and investors, Anwar told them Malaysia is also a gateway to the Halal ecosystem and the digital economy. He told them as Germany aims to penetrate halal markets,  Malaysia, a leader in the multibillion-dollar industry, stands as an ideal partner, offering expertise, infrastructure, and a robust halal regulatory framework.

In his speech today, the premier also said that both countries and their economies are built on a common foundation, which is small and medium enterprises (SMEs), although Germany’s SME sector is huge.

Anwar said Germany is a source of inspiration as it emerged strongly and confidently despite its cities being destroyed after World War Two.

He noted that more than 700 German companies are operating in Malaysia, including giants such as Siemens, Infineon, and Volkswagen. He added that German firms can work together with Malaysia to develop renewal energy.

The premier also took the opportunity to promote Malaysia as a tourism hub, saying that the country is rich with forests and beaches that can be visited throughout the year.

While encouraging SMEs to embrace green initiatives, including ESG practices, he said the Malaysian government is also doubling down on the digital economy, with a strong focus on promoting digital technologies to SMEs to drive export growth.

Six Malaysian companies are participating in the exhibition here through the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Development (MECD).




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