The Malaysian economy remains a vital gateway to the Asean and broader Asian markets particularly preferred by the Australian exporters.
Speaking to Malaysia Outlook, Nordin Abdullah, vice president of the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI), said that population growth and emerging middle class in Asia had created demands for food products, like wheat and sugar to quality meats.
“Australia will remain a key component of Asia’s food security strategy but the question remains how can the two countries increase collaboration and implement strategies to take advantage of the demand right on their doorsteps?” ponders Nordin.
He illustrated a recent Australian government study found that most Aussie companies preferred Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore as countries to establish operations in Asean.
Nordin believes the trend would continue following the Asean – Australia – New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and the Malaysia – Australia Free Trade Agreement (Mafta) had set the ground work for better business collaboration.
“We see growth as the integration of supply chains between Australia and Asia continues on the back of a maturing regional economic architecture.
“The Asean Economic Community (AEC) has started to break down barriers and improve regional business collaboration.” added Nordin, who is an exco member of the Malaysia Australia Business Council (MABC)
As part of the post Budget 2017 economic outlook engagement program, MABC has planned a series of events, with the main focus being “Trading Up: Accessing Opportunities for Australian Business in Asia” which will be held from 9th to 11th November, at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
The keynote speaker will be International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed.
Asked on the Budget 2017 expectation, Nordin pointed out that the need to balance spending on infrastructure projects and social well-being programs remains a challenge for the government.
However, the current gross domestic product (GDP) growth and revenues from tax collection will ensure that the governments continued commitment to the people in both in the near future is fulfilled, added Nordin.
“Continued spending on infrastructure that improves the investment environment for food production will lead to higher levels of food security as a strategy to reduce food based inflation should also be a priority.”
“Affordable housing should be seen as key enablers for sustainable development and one that will have a lasting impact on the people in both rural and urban areas of the country.
“Both these measures would be in line with the government’s stated goal of poverty eradication, managing the cost of living and ultimately moving from a middle income nation to that of a high income nation,” emphasised Nordin.
Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Razak will table the Budget 2017 in Parliament tomorrow afternoon.