InvestKL, Malaysia's capital city-investment agency, has called on British companies in the oil and gas, business services, technology and healthcare sectors to locate their Southeast Asian headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
Speaking against the backdrop of the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum in London, Zainal Amanshah (pictured), chief executive of InvestKL, emphasised Kuala Lumpur's de-facto Pivot into Southeast Asia, stressing its strategic location and strong regional connectivity to neighbouring energy and technology markets in Southeast Asia as a key strength.
Along with Malaysia's position as one of the fastest growing and politically-stable economies in the region, he said that British companies were being presented with a unique opportunity to access the 600 million-strong Southeast Asian markets' growing consumer and industry demands via Kuala Lumpur.
Zainal also highlighted Britain's position as one of Malaysia's largest foreign direct investors and trading partners, as well as the long history of friendship, education and trade between the two countries.
"Following Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to Malaysia last year, the British and Malaysian governments are fully committed to efforts to double bilateral trade to GBP8b by 2016. The establishment of British companies' Southeast Asian headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, particularly in the energy, business services, technology and healthcare industries, will provide an enormous impetus in achieving enhanced levels of bilateral trade.
"Our efforts to provide a business-friendly environment have been affirmed by the World Bank, which has ranked Malaysia the 6th best place in the world to conduct business in its 'Ease of Doing Business 2014' report, an improvement of 50 per cent from the previous year. Other leading global indices such as the IMD World Competitiveness Centre ranked Malaysia 15th in its World Competitiveness Scoreboard 2013. In 2012, we were placed fourth out of 59 economies in terms of business efficiency. InvestKL, as mandated by the Malaysian government, will spare no effort in providing British companies with end-to-end services to establish their regional hubs for Southeast Asia in Kuala Lumpur.
"With 409 oil and gas fields and a flourishing O&G ecosystem in Malaysia, coupled with its strategic location at the centre of Southeast Asia and easy connectivity to key energy markets in China and India, UK MNCs will find Kuala Lumpur an ideal base for British businesses to expand their Asian O&G operations.
"For business services, the development of the Mass Rapid Transit system in Kuala Lumpur, the imminent announcement of the game-changing High Speed Rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, the development of new airport terminals in Southeast Asia's leading capital cities and the rapid expansion of low-cost airline services in the region represent new and diverse long-term revenue streams for UK companies in the construction, aeronautical and engineering sectors.
"Similarly, the regional IT operations in Kuala Lumpur of leading British names such as BT, Standard Chartered and Rentokil are ample proof that KL is able to provide British technology firms with a globally competitive environment, a multilingual workforce and best-in-class technology infrastructure.
"In terms of healthcare services, burgeoning regional demand for healthcare services from Southeast Asia's remote population centres means that British healthcare companies can leverage Kuala Lumpur's IT infrastructure and regional connectivity to offer region-wide teleradiology, remote monitoring and air ambulance services.
"In short, the business case for British companies to use Kuala Lumpur to run regional operations is well-established and proven with its central location within the region, the massive investments in infrastructure development, our competitive cost of operations and access to a wide pool of largely British-educated knowledge workers. Taken together with the high global index scores that Kuala Lumpur enjoys for high-end expatriate housing, quality of life and retail experiences, this is an investment opportunity that is too compelling to ignore."