Last Updated: 2017-05-19
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By Shakir Husain

NEW DELHI, India May 19 (NNN-Bernama) -- Malaysia is becoming more attractive investment destination to Indian companies amid burgeoning business ties between the two counties, Malaysian High Commissioner to India Hidayat Abdul Hamid said.

The value of Malaysian investment in India has far exceeded that of Indian companies in Malaysia, but the recent visit to India by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has given a new boost to economic relations.

"During the Prime Minister's visit, important memorandums of understanding were signed. We are beginning to see more Indian investment in Malaysia," Hidayat said, citing a number projects involving top Malaysian and Indian companies.

The High Commissioner said growing business links between Malaysia and India marked a new phase in their bilateral relations.

"This is an encouraging development. Our bilateral relations have reached a new height," he told Bernama in an interview.

Indian investor interest in Malaysia spans areas like engineering, pharmaceuticals, information and communication technology and railways, while Malaysian companies are being encouraged to venture into India's infrastructure, healthcare, education, travel, financial services and food sectors.

The Indian government plans to develop 100 "Smart Cities", offering many opportunities for joint ventures and collaboration in infrastructure and services, Hidayat said.

Rewarding opportunities await Malaysian companies if they can develop good networking and learn the ways of doing business in India, he said.

Foreign companies often find the country's slow bureaucratic processes challenging, but the Indian government had said it was working to improve the ease of doing business.

Perseverance is important in India, but Malaysian companies should do their due diligence about the risks and rewards as the country is diverse and large, Hidayat said.

"Malaysian companies shouldn't just look for projects in major cities or established business hubs as smaller places and two-tier cities also provide good opportunities," he said.

Giving the example of Odisha in eastern India, he said the state government was keen to attract investment in tourism and infrastructure.

AirAsia has launched direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and the state capital Bhubaneswar as Odisha state looks to develop its untapped tourism potential by growing trade and travel links with Southeast Asia.

Andhra Pradesh state in south India is developing its new capital city of Amaravati where Malaysian companies can find potential partnerships.

The Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board and MiGHT Technology Nurturing Sdn Bhd signed a pact during Najib's visit for the development of a fourth-generation technology park in the state.

In Rajasthan state, Malaysian companies are exploring various road construction projects.

Malaysia is also looking at investing in banking and the halal food processing industry in India.

"Maybank would like to get a banking licence. India is their target market. They have the potential to expand. In the palm oil sector and halal food businesses, there is a lot of potential as well and this needs to be explored," Hidayat said.

The MoUs signed during the Malaysian Prime Minister's visit in April potentially offer projects worth tens of billions of dollars when fully completed over the coming years.

One of the largest proposals is to develop an integrated maritime city on Carey Island in Selangor. The partnership involves India's Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, MMC Port Holdings Sdn Bhd (MMC Ports) and Sime Darby Property Bhd.

MMC Ports and Adani Ports are also looking at the feasibility of the Carey Island port project as an extension of Port Klang, one of the world's busiest container ports.

The Malaysian High Commissioner said Indian companies had also shown interest in steel and aluminum projects in Sarawak.

"Business is going to be a major driver of our relationship," he said.--NNN-BERNAMA