Malaysia woos investment in oil, gas industry

5/14/2010 — Arab News
Malaysia is seeking investment in its oil and gas industry from Saudi Arabia, while the two countries have also expressed a strong desire to work closely together in the food and agriculture sector, according to a former Malaysian prime minister on Thursday.
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is currently visiting the Kingdom and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, is leading a high-level business delegation to attract investors.
Badawi, who is also the adviser of Malaysia’s East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC), said that his investment mission aims to “woo investors in the oil and gas industry, particularly in the downstream activities”.
Jebasingam Issace John, chief executive of the ECERDC, and Malaysian Ambassador Omar Al-Saggaf were also with him.
Badawi said that the council offered many incentives to foreign investors who opt to invest in Malaysia’s East Coast Economic Region (ECER). He said that several key projects from the ECER main economic clusters have been identified as key to attracting West Asian investors.
Referring to his talks at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Badawi said that the ECERDC would act as a one-stop center to fast-track applications and approvals and provide counseling and advisory services to Saudi and Gulf investors.
In the oil, gas and petrochemical sector, key Malaysian projects include the Kertih Polymer Park and Petronas Petroleum Industry Complex in Terengganu, as well as the Gebeng integrated Petrochemical Complex in Pahang, he added.
On agriculture cooperation, Badawi said that there was enough scope for cooperation in the farming sector as well as food processing and production of food materials including poultry production, livestock and pineapple plantations.
“Malaysia intends to take advantage of ample economic opportunities offered by Saudi Arabia, more because of the fact that the two Muslim countries have very important and strategic relations that are growing progressively,” he added.
He said that the agriculture sector of Malaysia was expected to register a growth of 3.1 percent as demand from major export markets for industrial crops, especially palm oil and rubber, improves with better economic prospects in 2010.
He called on Saudi Arabia to exert more efforts to boost trade and investment ties with Malaysia at a time when the economies of the two countries were still growing and while the global economy was undergoing a process of recovery.
“Moreover, Saudi Arabia’s $144 billion budget for 2010 should also translate into attractive possibilities for Malaysian companies to be involved in the Kingdom’s economic activities and other fields,” said Al-Saggaf.
Total trade between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia was close to $1.8 billion during January-November 2009. Malaysia has been ranked as the 13th largest foreign investor in Saudi Arabia in 2008.
The total number of Malaysian companies registered with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) is 87, of which 17 are involved in the industrial sector with a total investment value of $4.3 billion.
The rest are involved in the services sector with investments worth $238.6 million. The two sides have, of late, evinced keen interest to set up new joint ventures in different sectors.