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Malaysia, China to ink economic deals

Publication Date : 30-01-2013


China and Malaysia are expected to seal several economic deals when senior Chinese leader Jia Qinglin arrives next week, reinforcing the growing ties between the two states.

One of them will likely be for three Chinese companies to set up factories in the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), which will be jointly inaugurated by Jia - the outgoing head of China's top advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference - and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday.

The two leaders will also sign an agreement to set up Xiamen University's first overseas campus, said China's Ambassador to Malaysia Chai Xi. The campus, to be situated in Selangor, will be one of the first set up overseas by a Chinese university.

Mr Chai was speaking at a media briefing yesterday, ahead of the first high-level Chinese visit here following the country's leadership transition last November.

Noting that Beijing attaches great importance to China-Malaysia ties, he said: "This visit will deepen our mutual understanding, strengthen friendly ties and step up common development."

He pointed out that despite global financial difficulties, two-way trade grew 5.3 per cent last year to hit US$94.8 billion. China has become Malaysia's largest trading partner while Malaysia is China's largest trading partner in South-east Asia.

This year, Malaysia is expecting about 1 billion ringgit (US$325 million) in investments from China, Malaysia's Minister for International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed said separately yesterday.

The 607ha MCKIP, which is situated in Datuk Seri Najib's home state, will target industries including plastics, metal and automotive component making. It aims to attract 7 billion ringgit in investments and create 5,500 jobs when it is completed in 2020.

Analysts have noted that the Malaysian government has been cultivating ties with China in recent years to boost its economy and bolster support from the local Chinese community at the polls.

Malaysia must call its next general election in under three months.

Asked if the park's development might be affected by poll results, Chai said: "No matter what changes in China or Malaysia politically, I don't see any negative impact on the development, because the park is conducive to political relations and economic development between the two countries."

He also did not think Chinese investors will be spooked by the park's proximity to the controversial Lynas rare earth plant.

*US$1=3 ringgit


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