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Malaysia’s New Economic Model:
Risks and Rewards
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AseanAffairs Magazine May - June 2010

Prime Minister Najib Razak vows to take Malaysia forward and transform it into a high income nation through economic and social reforms. Initial responses to this ambitious drive are mixed, details are scarce and investors play wait-and-see.Yet, Najib insists he’s got support to push ahead.

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Dr Guenter Georg
German Ambassador to Malaysia
Stuart Dean
President, GE Asean
Ramanathan Sathiamutty
Managing Director, IBM Malaysia Sdn Bhd
Geoffrey Briscoe
Managing Director, BMW Group Malaysia

AseanAffairs exclusive interviews with H.E. Dr. Guenter Georg, German Ambassador to Malaysia ; Stuart Dean, President, GE Asean; Ramanathan Sathiamutty, Managing Director, IBM Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Geoffrey Briscoe, Managing Director, BMW Group Malaysia .

Impressions of Malaysia
Malaysia is a fascinating country. Multicultural and multi-religious, I find it has come a long way since independence. I am especially pleased that green technology has been made an integral part of public policy. Malaysia could not only be a fully industralised country by 2020, but also a country relying fully or largely on renewable energy.

Germany’s Key Partner in Trade Malaysia is our second most important trading partner in the region, after Singapore, and with some distance to the other trading partners in the region. Malaysia can be a hub for the region and the world for German producers, and German companies take advantage of that.

Prospects for Trade Growth Last year, we have seen bilateral trade shrink considerably. After previous years going from strength to strength with bilateral trade of 8.38 bn euro, last year we had about 7.2 bn euro. Trade figures indicate that bilateral trade is picking up again in a fast way - we will see, how much of the lost ground we can make up, and how much new ground we can gain. One growth sector could be renewable energy. Malaysia is working on a Renewable Energy Act which could increase its importance in green technology in the region and the world. Renewable energy, energy efficiency and green technology in general will raise Malaysia’s standard of living considerably.

Attracting Green Investors from Germany Malaysia and other Asean countries are already big players in producing solar cells. However, these are mainly meant for export. To create an attractive market with even bigger potential, several actions could be considered: the creation of a conducive legal framework, including a feed-in-tariff; the restructuring of subsidies - away from conventional sources of energy and towards renewable energies; and finally: a public awareness campaign to change attitudes towards the environment in the general population. We can all do our part: Walk up the stairs. Turn the AC a bit higher. And maybe even use a bicycle, like I do.

German Investment in Malaysia Bilateral trade is about 30 bn Euro, the German share is slightly less than a fourth of that. And it’s a similar story for investments: Germany has always been one of the major investors in Malaysia.


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