Cambodia is Malaysia’s key investment partner and very important for doing business, says a key trade official.
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Raja Badrulinzam Raja Kamalzaman is a senior member of Matrade, an institution of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia’s national trade promotion agency.
He was speaking at an event in Phnom Penh organised by the Malaysia Trade External Development Corporation for which 25 businesses were brought to the city to attend the Cambodia-Malaysia Business Opportunities seminar.
The delegation was composed of firms from various backgrounds, including the food and beverage industry, cosmetics, construction, machinery and equipment, as well as the information and communications and services industries.
Mr Badrulinzam, one of the speakers at the event highlighted that the companies were looking for local trade partners to penetrate the market here or hoping to export their products into the country.
“On behalf of Matrade, we continue to view Cambodia as a very important market for doing business,” he says. “This country is Malaysia’s key investment partner. Better trade cooperation between our countries would enable us to be the largest investor here and aid the development of the country.”
The event aimed to share an overview of business landscapes in both Cambodia and Malaysia and organsers hoped to attract more Malaysian businesses to invest in the Kingdom.
Speaking at the seminar in Sokha Hotel, Phnom Penh, Ambassador Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim of Malaysia to Cambodia said the seminar was designed to boost trade between the countries, noting that few deals will be signed between Cambodian and Malaysian companies.
He added that Malaysia is on track to regain its former position of being the top investor in the country.
Director General of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce Nguon Meng Tech urged Malaysian investors to seek business opportunities in the country because it boasts a good investment policy and hoped for Matrade to further promote Cambodia as a potential country for Malaysian investors to look into.
On behalf of the National Productivity Centre, Deputy Director Um Sereyvuth presented a view of the business landscape in Cambodia updating potential Malaysian businesses on the retail market as well as on the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, encouraging businesses to penetrate it.
“Sales of FMCG products are sometimes influenced by holidays including public holidays as well as discounts,” says Mr Sereyvuth , pointing out that FMCG holds potential, especially with the rise of malls in the country.
The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), a Malaysian government agency, has been instrumental in facilitating agreements between Malaysian and Cambodian companies in the past.
Early August this year saw IG Tech Group, a Cambodian enterprise, sign a memorandum of understanding with four Malaysian tech companies aiming to expand their operations in the Kingdom.
The agreement will allow the Malaysian companies will expand their operations in the Kingdom by bringing forth new solutions to the local market in key areas – cybersecurity , systems to combat money laundering, school support systems and insurance solutions.
Between 1994 to 2006, Malaysia was on top of the foreign investor ranking and then fell to fourth place. However, according to the ambassador, he is confident that Malaysia would soon be able to get to second place by the year’s end or early 2020. “The objective of this seminar was to explore strategic positioning for Malaysian businesses in the Kingdom and there is no better time than now to do so,” says His Excellency.
Furthermore, he says that while this is the second wave of businesses from Malaysia coming to Cambodia, more and more business entourages will be visiting the Kingdom to seek for opportunities.
Mr Badrulnizam say trade between the two countries has grown steadily over the years. According to data provided by Matrade, total trade between Malaysia and Cambodia between January and July 2019 rose $484.9 percent.
In comparison with the same period in the previous year, total trade amounted to $341.1 million.
The growth rate between the two years is 42.1 percent.
Goods exported from Malaysia during the period of January to June this year include petroleum products, textiles, footwear, processed food, chemical products as well as transport equipment.
Petroleum products exported from Malaysia were valued at $167.9 million while textile, apparel and footwear amounted to $44.5 million.
Processed food exports recorded $30.7 million and chemical products exports were valued at $18.3 million. Exports of transport equipment from Malaysia to the Kingdom amounted to $13.5 million.
Meanwhile, top products imported from Cambodia during the same period included textiles, apparel and footwear ($ 33.1 million) , natural rubber ($9.4 million), palm oil and palm oil-based products ($ 2.5 million, electronics products as well as optical and scientific equipment ($1.5 million).
Prominent Malaysian players such NagaCorp Ltd, Leader Energy, Muhibbah, Smart Axiata, Campubank and Maybank are some of the many leading corporations that have invested in Cambodia, establishing the country as an ideal place for investment.
Malaysia’s banking sector has also established a presence in the Kingdom. Besides, Maybank, other financial institutions include CIMB, RHB and Public Bank.