Malaysia is looking to attract more Qatari investments into the country, currently estimated at $15bn, to develop the Southeast Asian nation’s growing tourism industry, ambassador Ahmad Jazri Mohamed Johar has said.
According to Johar, many Qataris have considered Malaysia as a family-friendly holiday destination.
Among GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) nations, the ambassador said Malaysia “is a well-known honeymoon destination.”
“On this basis, we are making efforts to make sure that Malaysia is better known as an investment destination hence, we are trying to bring Qatari investors to Malaysia and invest in the country’s tourism sector,” Johar told Gulf Times.
The ambassador said Langkawi Island in the State of Kedah is one of Malaysia’s top vacation destinations that the government is promoting to foreign investors.
Last month, the Malaysian embassy held a business networking session in Doha to encourage major players in Qatar’s public and private sector to explore investment opportunities in Langkawi, he said.
“That is why we need to bring Qatari investors to visit Langkawi or Malaysia as a whole. With increased Qatari investment interest, more Qataris will visit Malaysia. It is happening; there are already various efforts by Qataris to invest on their own.
“There have been a lot of private sector groups going to Kuala Lumpur looking for investment opportunities without the knowledge of both the Qatari and Malaysian embassies. We only learn about these things when the projects have already materialised,” Johar pointed out.
Asked about the total value of Qatari investments in Malaysia, Johar said the embassy does not have the exact figure, but estimated the amount at around $12bn to $15bn.
Citing major infrastructure projects, the ambassador said the Malaysian government has spent billions of dollars “to create a conducive investment environment” and attract the “right investors.” In the next two to three years, the Malaysian government will spend $15bn for its mass rapid transit project. Another project, a high-speed rail between Singapore and Malaysia spanning 400km, will connect Singapore and Kuala Lumpur with a travel time of only 90 minutes.
Johar noted that Malaysia’s infrastructure and government support, as well as its “healthy” foreign investment policies make it an attractive business destination in the Southeast Asian region.
“We have been working for many years to attract investments from the Middle East. We would like our Muslim brothers to come and see what we have. We are a very reputable Muslim country. In terms of security, families that visit us feel very safe.
“These are among the things we want to promote all the time and we want more Qataris to learn from their friends who have been to Malaysia about their beautiful experiences in the country,” Johar said.
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