Malaysian and Saudi Arabian firms have signed seven memoranda of understanding (MoUs) worth RM9.74 billion for potential business co-operations in the construction, halal, aerospace and pilgrimage services sectors.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said this shows the growing interest from both countries to leverage on mutual strengths in achieving business goals.
“As Saudi Arabia is moving away from its reliance on oil revenue, we would like to encourage Saudi investors to explore the business potentials in new growth areas, particularly relating to advanced technological products,” he said at the Malaysia-Saudi Arabia Business Forum yesterday.
Mustapa also urged multinational companies (MNCs) from Saudi Arabia to follow in the footsteps of other MNCs and take advantage of the principal hub scheme. He said this would enable them to use Malaysia as a base to increase their key strategic value-adding functions towards becoming more cost efficient.
He pointed out that Malaysia has a strong presence in Saudi Arabia’s construction sector. So far, 19 contracts worth RM18.5 million have been awarded to Malaysian companies.
“Malaysian companies are involved in the various sectors, notably in construction sector, and development projects in Saudi Arabia. These include Prasarana Malaysia Bhd, Malakoff Corp Bhd, Zelan Bhd and AlloyMtd Group,” said Mustapa in his keynote speech.
Last year, total trade between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia was worth RM14 billion, an increase of 27.8% from RM11 billion previously.
“Our exports amounted to RM3.4 billion, while our imports stood at RM10.6 billion. Within the Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabia was Malaysia’s second-largest trading partner, second-largest export destination and the number one largest source of imports. These indicate the importance of Saudi Arabia to Malaysia,” he said.
Mustapa said the current state of bilateral relations between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia remains strong and both countries are committed to further foster and deepen cooperation in various fields.
“I am confident through the MoUs on trade and investment signed yesterday, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia will be able to engage more closely in the efforts of enhancing bilateral trade and investments, as well as technical cooperation in the various areas that have been identified,” he said.
According to him, Malaysian services providers have the expertise, capability and capacity to supply a wide range of services to overseas markets.
Among the services that Malaysian companies have exported to West Asia are construction and professional services, energy and power generation, environment management services, oil and gas, information and communications technology services, consultancy, healthcare and education.
Among the major projects that have been undertaken by Malaysian consortiums include the Shuaibah Independent Water and Power Plant (IWPP), which is the first IWPP in Saudi Arabia, operation and maintenance of the Arafah-Mina Metro System by Prasarana and the development of Jamrah Complex in Mina by AlloyMtd.