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Malaysia Business Forum and 36th JAMECA-MAJECA Joint Conference
- Passionate calls for investment in Malaysia by Prime Minister Mahathir -

November 2018

On November 6, JETRO jointly held the Malaysia Business Forum and the 36th JAMECA-MAJECA Joint Conference with the Japan-Malaysia Economic Association and the Malaysia-Japan Economic Association on the occasion of a visit to Japan by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

The forum was concurrently held with a joint conference annually held by JAMECA and MAJECA, under the theme "Moving towards a Renewed Japan-Malaysia Collaboration for the Digital Economy."PDF file (External site: a new window will open)(304KB) It was joined by approximately 700 people from member companies of both associations as well as Japanese companies with interest in doing business in Malaysia. Presentations were delivered by guest speakers including the Malaysian Prime Minister, CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and President Tan Sri Azman Hashim of MAJECA.

In his remarks, JETRO Chairman and CEO Hiroyuki Ishige praised the relationship between the two countries which celebrated the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations last year, and emphasized that Malaysia has been an outstanding partner for Japan in the development of both economies. However, he also expressed his concern about the comparative decline of the advantage of Malaysia as an investment destination by Japanese companies. In this regard, he made the following proposals to both governments:

  1. Introducing specific measures to promote technological renovation and innovation
  2. Developing a concrete strategy for cultivating highly-skilled human resources which can be differentiated from that of neighboring countries

In his keynote speech, Prime Minister Mahathir reiterated that he will establish a business-friendly framework based on the rule of law by rebuilding finance which had deteriorated under the previous administration and addressing corruption within the administrative system. He expressed high hopes for investment from Japan into high-tech fields and areas which can contribute to developing manufacturing as well as cultivation of human resources. While declaring that he had always placed great value on learning from Japanese work ethics, he stressed that he would like to create more opportunities for Malaysians to work together with Japanese in Japan.

In the panel discussion moderated by JETRO Executive Vice President Yuri Sato, a discussion took place under the theme "Japan-Malaysia Collaboration towards Building a Strong Digital Innovation Ecosystem." Panelists pointed out the following issues as important in creating mutually complementary innovation between the two countries:

  1. Expanding funds led by the private sector
  2. Taking measures to retain talented human resources in Malaysia
  3. Creating opportunities for matching with Malaysian startups
  4. Promoting the cultivation of human resources in the technology field

The Malaysian government has announced a series of important political measures which indicate the orientation of the new administration’s policies: the mid-term review of the 11th five-year plan on October 18, national measures toward Industry 4.0 on October 31 and state budget allocation for fiscal year 2019 on November 2. Held in a timely manner with the announcement of those national policies, this seminar provided an opportunity to hear about the course of the new administration directly from its leaderships.

A dialogue was also held between Prime Minister Mahathir and Chairman Ishige, in which they agreed that raising the level of human resources of SMEs is imperative for developing industry in Malaysia. The prime minister welcomed a proposal by JETRO for supporting industrial human resource development, through projects such as internships, saying he believes that cultivating human resources who can deepen integration with manufacturing scenes through digital technologies, as well as improvement of the infrastructure to do this, are critical issues.

JETRO will continue taking the opportunity of visits to Japan by ranking officials like on this occasion to strengthen economic relations with other countries and regions through two-way business promotion.

Greetings by JETRO Chairman and CEO Ishige

Keynote speech by Prime Minister Mahathir

VIPs photo session