KUALA LUMPUR, FRIDAY:  The final delegates of Malaysia Global Business Forum, Strategic Partners – Malaysia & The Arab World have returned to their countries following the successful completion of the event, business matching and site visits.

Key announcements included the recognition of the Arab Malaysia Chamber of Commerce by the Council for Arab Economic Unity, the formation of a executive working group to identify and promote high impact projects between Malaysia and the Arab World, the Malaysian Governments’ commitment to the Arab world and a series of high level meetings between several large groups from both regions.  This is on the back of announcement by the government that FDI’s have returned pre-crisis levels coupled with a GDP growth of 5.5 percent.

“It is no doubt that Arab capital is looking for a safe haven, this can be seen in the London new built property market “In 2011 Middle East money made up 9 per cent of total foreign investment in London’s new-build property, compared to 5 per cent in 2010, according to Jones Lang Lasalle’s sales data with transaction values for newly built homes at around £1.25bn”, but it is time that the Arab world start to use that capital in a more strategic way to ensure sustainable development and long term political security in the region.”  Added Nordin,

While the companies involved in the high level business matching session that took place behind closed doors between large groups from the Arab world and Malaysia’s leading companies in the key sectors of, construction, Oil & Gas and Healthcare. “The largest delegation to the business matching was from Qatar, which is no wonder with all that needs to be achieved in that country for the 2022 World Cup.  Qatar, the world’s top exporter of liquefied natural gas, is preparing a $88 billion spending plan to host the 2022 soccer World Cup finals.”  Commented Nordin.

“We will not be announcing the figures of deals concluded as that is proprietary information and often sensitive, but I can say that ”  Stated, David Velu, Managing Partner of Strategia International, a consulting group that was managing the business matching sessions.

Dato’ Muhkriz Mahathir, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry for Malaysia in his address stated, “We have always regarded the Arab Countries as our strategic trade and investment partners and this Forum gives us an opportunity to forge closer business links between Malaysian and Arab Entrepreneurs.”  Dato Muhkriz went on to say “The global economy is facing very challenging times, sluggish growth in the United States and a worsening debt crisis in the Eurozone suggest we need to be prudent in how we manage our economic friends.  The coming months will therefore test our economic resilience to the fullest. Let us therefore intensify our trade and investment engagement so that we can minimize the economic slow-down on our countries.  We need to build on our strengths and also find ways to sustain the momentum of our own economic growth.”

Comments from Chairman of Malaysia Global Business Forum – Nordin Abdullah

Nordin Abdullah stated that Food Security is a high priority for the stabilization of the Arab region. Arab countries need to achieve long-term prosperity while fostering food security.  A roadmap for development and poverty reduction using a broad food security program for the region and country specific strategies including the need for developing small farmer organisations and the need to adopt new development paradigms are vital to maintain political stability.  Malaysia has its experience to offer in the Palm Oil Industry and with organisations such as FELDA who have been able to successfully integrate small holder’s interests into the national development agenda.  Malaysia is now applying its’ expertise to the development of the Halal industry, which is a important component for Arab and all Muslim nations.

Nordin went on to state that, “Private Healthcare developments such as private hospitals, medical tourism and the development of sound economic policies in this sector were vital.  The Secretary General, H.E.Al-Rabea has stated that currently his country, Yemen, spends approximately USD1.5 billion annually outside of Yemen on international healthcare, which is a drain on his country’s economy.”  Nordin went on to state that in a recent report “information shows according to the U.A.E. Ministry of Economy, the healthcare sector is expected to grow 16% annually and is on a “high growth curve.” Healthcare expenditure is expected to rise to $11.9bn in 2015 from just $3.2bn in 2005. Currently, almost $14bn in healthcare-related projects are underway across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), with the U.A.E. alone accounting for $2.9bn or roughly 20 percent of those expenditures.”

H.E. Mohamad Al-Rabea stated, “The Arab World has imported internationally in the last year USD123 billion. The Arab World exported approximately 43 billion dollars excluding the exports of Oil & Gas. Exports were primarily in raw materials.  This represents a snapshot of some of the opportunities for Malaysian companies who are looking to provide, goods and services to the Arab World.

“While there are 22 countries in the Arab World, we see ourselves as one people and we are working towards a Common Arab Market.  As I stated, the Arab World consists of 22 countries and one thing I have been asked is which countries specifically, should Malaysians target.  Each country has specific needs and I would suggest Malaysians work with the Arab Malaysian Chamber of Commerce to identify the viable business partners in each case.  The Arab Malaysian Chamber is the bridge you need.” Stated Al-Rabea.

With this in mind, We have formed an executive working committee, for High Impact Projects between Malaysia and the Arab world. This Executive Working Committee will identify and promote these projects to high net worth investors throughout the Arab World and Malaysia.  This key group, which I will co-chair, already includes the Council of Arab Economic Unity, the Malaysia Global Business Forum and has the involvement of the Arab Malaysian Chamber of Commerce together with a key group of advisors from Malaysia and the Arab countries.”Commented the Secretary General.

“The first thing that the committee needs to do is to target specific industries, and then, target specific projects in the Arab World which can be viable for Malaysian businesses.” Stated Al Rabea.

Malaysia and the Arab world have be doing business for hundreds of years, but of late there has not been a reliable bridge between these two areas.  Mr. Ridwan Alami, President of the Arab Malaysian Chamber of Commerce stated that “With the Arab League recognition to AMCC and the support received by AMCC since it was launched a year ago from the Malaysian Government, Ministries and Agencies, the Chamber will be working hard through scheduled programs and initiatives to bring closer the economic and business relationships between Malaysia and the Arab Countries.”

“The AMCC is confident that the Malaysian and Arab business entities will find in AMCC the trusted source for information and guidance to make their business ventures successful.” Added Mr. Alami.

Looking to the Future

“The office of the Secretary General of the Council of Arab Economic Unity extends its support and confirms its involvement in the upcoming Malaysia Global Business Forum – High Impact Projects – Malaysia & The Arab World and encourages member nations to become active participants as a means of expanding economic development that will lead to the sustainable future of the people in the Arab World.” Added Mr. Al Rabea


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