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BW Businessworld

More Malaysian Firms See Investment Opportunities In India

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The economic reforms being pursued by the new government in Delhi have ignited the interest of more Malaysian companies to invest in India, Malaysia’s High Commissioner Datuk Naimun Ashakli Mohammad said.
“There is more interest in doing business in India. Some of our big companies are already working on projects and many are exploring opportunities, especially in infrastructure and government-to-government projects,” Datuk Naimun told Businessworld Online.
Datuk Naimun Ashakli Mohammad
“We can have more collaboration in areas such as healthcare, education and tourism,” he said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak met in November in Myanmar during the summit of Asian leaders and discussed expanding bilateral economic relations.
Modi invited Malaysian companies to invest in India as part of his “Make in India” initiative that seeks to turn the country into a manufacturing hub.
Another area in which Modi has sought to engage Malaysian companies is the housing sector to build affordable homes.
"Malaysia worked a lot on affordable housing. We want every Indian to have a home by 2022. Have seen your companies can work in this area," Modi told the Malaysian prime minister.
The high commissioner said Malaysian companies want to explore housing projects and other opportunities in India’s infrastructure push that aims to develop 100 “smart cities” – townships with modern housing, logistics, transport and communications.
Among notable projects, Malaysia Airports has a joint venture with Indian conglomerate GMR to manage airports in New Delhi and Hyderabad, and Scomi Group has built Mumbai’s monorail system and is bidding for a similar project in Chennai.
The Indian Ministry of Urban Development has given its approval for phase one of the 20.68-km monorail plan in Tamil Nadu’s capital.
Malaysia’s Air Asia Group in partnership with Tata Sons and Telestra Tradeplace launched budget airline Air Asia India, which started operating this year and has major network expansion plans.
Total trade between India and Malaysia last year was about $13.16 billion, with Malaysian palm oil exports accounting for some 15 per cent of the value.
Asked about a recent media report that Malaysia planned to make an investment of Rs 10,000 crore ($1.6 billion) in Rajasthan's road sector, Datuk Naimun said he was not aware of any specific project but Malaysian companies have shown interests in expressway projects in several states.
Although initial reforms launched by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government have generated hopes of a better business environment in the country, many foreign investors want more clarity on laws before committing funds.
Better coordination between states and the central government on laws and regulations would give greater confidence to foreign investors, Naimun said.