KUALA LUMPUR: Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is enthusiastic to finance huge infrastructure projects in Malaysia, including the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, said Second Secretary of Chinese Embassy here, Dr Fang Tao.
So far, AIIB has not made its presence felt in the Malaysian market, he said.
“Before he visited Malaysia, maybe, he didn’t have in-depth knowledge about this country. After the visit, he then realised that this is the market that AIIB hasn’t attached great importance to.
“The embassy will be in close contact with AIIB to discuss how the bank can proceed and provide financial services to Malaysian companies or finance large infrastructure projects in Malaysia,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Supply Chain Conference 2018 here today.
On whether AIIB would still finance the HSR project even if the winners were from other countries like South Korea or Japan, he said: “I believe AIIB is an international organisation that is only based in Beijing but not owned by China. “I think their solutions (to finance any projects) are open,” he said.
He said there would be no limit in terms of the types of projects that AIIB would finance, as the bank could also lend money for the non-Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects that were undertaken in Malaysia.
On the misunderstanding that the BRI has resulted in a more stiff business environment in Malaysia, Fang said the foreign direct investments coming from China brought more advantages to Malaysia as they helped spur the economic growth and livelihood of the country.
Citing an example, he said, the East Coast Rail Link project has awarded at least 30-40% of its contracts to the local contractors.
On recruitment, he said, a majority of the Chinese companies in Malaysia hired a significant number of local staff, between 80-90% .
“We encouraged Chinese companies to localise as much as possible but we don’t have any specific figure (percentage of adaptation) as we cannot force them to do so.
“However, I believe most of the Chinese companies in Malaysia have done their best, unless they cannot find materials or skilled workers, then they will import them,” he said. – Bernama