Phl-Malaysia Investment Forum Draws Crowds in KL

6 June 2012 - The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs that the Philippines-Malaysia Investment Partnership Forum held on May 29 at The Royale Chulan in Kuala Lumpur drew large crowds and led to sizeable investments in the country's infrastructure and other sectors.

Some 300 guests, including chief executive officers (CEOs) of leading Malaysian and Philippines companies, attended the whole-day events, which featured presentations on investment climate and opportunities in the Philippines and a business matching session in the afternoon.

Among those present were a 35-person business delegation from the Philippines, 24 foreign ambassadors and others members of the diplomatic corps based in Kuala Lumpur, Philippine and Malaysian government officials, CEOs and representatives from leading Malaysian companies such as Berjaya Corporation Berhad, Genting Resorts World, AlloyMTD Group, CIMB Bank, Maybank, RHB Bank Berhad and many others.

Forum guest of honor and keynote speaker, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, encouraged Filipino and Malaysian businessmen and women to take advantage of the positive developments in bilateral economic relations.

"Malaysia and the Philippines share strong political and economic interests.  These can only grow stronger in the years ahead.  It is for political and economic leaders, as well as for the captains of industry and trade of both countries to make that happen. The opportunity for growth is here, the will for growth is here, the various ingredients for growth are here - it is for us to exploit all these elements for the material benefit and advancement of our two countries and their peoples," he said.

"I urge you to continue this conversation at technical level, guided by the Filipinos' 'bayanihan' spirit and the Malaysian 'gotong royong' of working together," the Vice President added.

The investment forum was jointly organized by the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) and the Asian Institute of Management Alumni Association-Malaysia (Kelab AIM). Sponsors of the forum included Genting Group as main sponsor and San Miguel Corporation/Petron Corporation as strategic partner of the forum. AlloyMTD Group (formerly MTD Capital Berhad) was corporate sponsor and Resorts World Manila hosted the luncheon lecture.

In his welcome remarks, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya called attention to the innate attractiveness of the Philippines as an investment destination. "As neighbors and ASEAN partner, there is so much room for deepened cooperation between our two countries and tremendous opportunities for mutually beneficial partnership between our respective business sectors. With the much improved good governance and stable policy environment under the Aquino Administration, the Philippines should be among Malaysia's preferred investment destinations."

For his part, Malaysian Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Dato' Mukhriz Mahathir welcomed the conduct of the forum, citing it as one way towards enhancing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) plan of economic integration.

"We should work together to enhance ASEAN's integration with our major trading partners in order for ASEAN to remain [as] a dynamic economic region. With greater regional integration and the removal of barriers to trade under the ASEAN Economic Community Framework, I am optimistic our bilateral trade and investment numbers will grow steadily," he said.

"Regionally speaking, Malaysia's trade and investment priority is to support greater economic integration within ASEAN.  We want to deepen economic integration through the ASEAN Economic community and through the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) framework.  This is an important sub-region within ASEAN where both Malaysia and the Philippines stand to gain.  We must make effort to project our mutual interests," the Malaysian Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister stated.

Among those in attendance were AlloyMTD President and Chief Executive Officer Dato' Azmil Khalili, Genting Hong Kong Ltd. President and Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Chua, CIMB Chief Executive Officer Nazir Razak, Malaysian fund management company Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) Chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Bin Abdul Hamid and Kelab AIM President Hajji Zulkifly Baharom.

Leading Filipino businessmen and women present included Asian Institute of Management and SyCip Gorres and Verayo founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Washington Sycip, former Foreign Affairs Minister Ambassador Delia Domingo-Albert, Employers Confederation of the Philippines Chairman Edgardo Lacson, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Emeritus Dr. Francis Chua, AllianceGlobal President Kingson Sian, Alphaland President Mario Oreta, Phoenix Resources President Donald Dee, Palafox Associates Founder and Managing Partner Felino "Jun" Palafox, Jr. and Makati Business Club Executive Director Peter Perfecto, among others.

Philippine Board of Investments Governor Oliver Butalid presented the Philippine investment climate and opportunities, which he termed as "making waves around the world".

"Buoyed by strong winds through a strong-performing stock market, increasing exports and foreign direct investments, as well as steady wind patterns in lowering public sector debt and strong foreign remittances, we can say that its 'surf's up' for the Philippines in terms of trade and investment.  Add to that is our growing market, improved competitiveness, hardworking, intelligent and adaptable people, similarities in culture and lifestyle, and its location with Malaysia, I would say that there is room for further investments from Malaysian businessmen in the Philippines," he said.

During the forum, two memoranda of understanding (MOUs) were signed between Philippine and Malaysian companies. The first MOU signed was between MTD Philippines and Isabela Power Corporation and Greenpower Resources Corporation, involving the construction of nine mini-hydroelectric power plant projects in Isabela.

Another is the MOU between the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and the Agensi Inovasi Malaysia involves bilateral cooperation between both parties in the areas of technical, technological, research, academic and management practices.

The luncheon featured the inauguration of the Professor Gaby Mendoza lecture, where Dr. Sycip shared his views on the Asian psyche and how it affects development and progress in the region.

Dr. SyCip was also present to launch the Dr. Washington Z. SyCip Achievement Award, which was bestowed on Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) Chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji, for his stellar career in public service and in steering the course of the PNB to where it is now.

The event also gave Filipino and Malaysian businessmen the chance to interact through the Sectoral Opportunities Seminar, moderated by Philippine Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Glenn Penaranda.

Representatives from the Philippines talked about key investment sectors in the Philippines:  tourism and tourism infrastructure, infrastructure through the Public-Private Partnership Scheme, agro-business and Mindanao and related businesses.  END