Malaysia has emerged as the eighth largest foreign investor in Laos with investments of RM2.3 billion from 2000 to 2015.
Malaysian Ambassador to Laos Than Tai Hing said investments by Malaysian companies at present covers the banking and finance, insurance, tourism, education, construction and agricultural sectors.
Malaysia investment also encompassed two free trade zones, namely the Nelamit/Dongphosy Specific Economic Zone (SEZ) in Vientiane and Savan-Seno SEZ in Savannakhet in southern Laos.
“Both the SEZ will clearly contribute to the economic growth and development of Laos in the future,” he told Malaysian reporters in Vientiane today.
Than was speaking against the backdrop of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s visit to Laos to attend the 28th ASEAN Summit and 29th Related Summits.
Prime Minister Najib will head the Malaysian delegation to the ASEAN Summit from Sept 6-8.
He is scheduled to attend a meeting with the Malaysian business community in Vietiane on Tuesday.
The meeting will involve key Malaysian investors, namely those companies involved in undertaking iconic and high potential projects in Laos such as the East-West Economic Corridor Railway Project, a rail venture in the Dongphosy Specific Economic and Nam Pha Hydro Power, involving hydro power generation.
Ten other Malaysian-owned investment companies would also attend the meeting.
“This meeting is viewed as a good platform for the Malaysian business community here to provide an update as to the status of their projects,” Than said.
In 2015, bilateral trade between Malaysia and Laos stood at RM106 million.
Malaysian exports to Laos at RM100 million covered clothing, textiles, vehicle spare parts, mining material, electrical and electronic goods, chemical products, natural rubber, palm oil and manufactured goods.
A bigger part of imports comprised communication equipment and electrical components, while the tourism industry has had a big impact on diplomatic cooperation, the economy and bilateral trade between Laos and Malaysia.
On the ASEAN Summit, Than said the presence of Najib was a visible sign of Malaysia’s solid support for Laos as the ASEAN Chairman.
“The attendance is also symbolic and important as 2016 represents the 50th anniversary of the forging of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Laos,” he added.
Prime Minister, accompanied by his wife Rosmah Mansor, will arrive at the Wattay International Airport in Vientiane this afternoon.