MILAN – Italian investors continue to have confidence in Malaysia as evidenced by their decisions to expand and diversify their existing operations in the country, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
Najib, while acknowledging that bilateral trade had risen spectacularly and the Italian investments also grew at a brisk pace in a relatively short time, hoped Rome and Kuala Lumpur would continue to work together for mutual benefit.
He said Malaysia had a lot to offer Italian investors and businesses based on its strong fundamentals and steady economic growth trajectory despite the challenging global environment.
“Italian investors have a strong presence in Malaysia. We are proud to host notable Italian companies such as Versalisn, AugustaWestland, Alfa Gomma, Galperti Group, Nicotra Fans ans Blowers and Marelli Motori,” he said.
Najib said this at the roundtable meeting with Italian captains of industry in conjunction with Expo Milano 2015 here Saturday.
Also present were International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, President of the Italian Malaysian Friendship Association Ambassador Anacleto Felicani and Chairman of Malayisa and Brunei Committee of the Swiss Asia Chamber of Commerce Patrick H. Kriesemar.
Among the company representatives at the meeting were from Excel Rim Co, which is involved in engineeiring, Marelli Motori SpA, manufacturer of electric motors, Unigra, involved in processing of food oils and fats, margarines and semi-finished products and Sordi Impianti, involved in machinery and plants for the food industry.
Najib said over the last ten years Malaysian and Italian partnerships had been growing impressively, with investments in manufacturing sector up from US$9.5 million (US$1 = RM4.41) in 2010 to US$303 million last year.
“As of December 2014, Malaysia has cumulatively approved a total of 115 manufacturing projects with Italian participation.
“These investments totalled US$654.3 million and have created 10,378 jobs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s overall total trade with Italy in 2014 alone amounted to US$2.69 billion, he said.
He said despite the challenging global environment, Malaysia’s economic fundamentals remained strong.
Najib added that there is also political stability in Malaysia.
“However, sometimes when there is an open democracy one must be tolerance of divergent views and this should not be equate with political unstability. There is also racial harmony,” he said.
Najib also witnessed the exchange of the letter of acceptance for the lease of about 8.4 hectares at Tanjung Langsat Industrial Complex between Johor Corp and Italian company, Unigra.
Johor Corp was represented by the State Executive Councillor for Education, Information, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Committee, Mohammad Jais Sarday, while Unigra represented by its Group Finance Director Luca Mini.
The RM250 million investment is for the processing of eatable oils and fats, margarines and semi-finishes products for food and confectionery industry.