Speech for Thematic Session On Infrastructure Connectivity

May 14, 2017 at 5:22 pm



(Session: Infrastructure Connectivity Theme: Connectivity Towards Prosperity)

Mr. Chairman

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. First and foremost, allow me to express my sincere appreciation to the Government of People’s Republic of China for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to my delegation and I for participating in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation High-level Dialogue, in this beautiful city of Beijing.

2. In this regard, Malaysia wishes to congratulate and applaud the Chinese President, Mr. Xi Jinping for his forward looking vision in launching the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ and ‘21st Century Maritime Silk Road’ commonly referred to as One Belt and One Road (OBOR) in 2013.

3. This initiative is seen to rejuvenate the spirit of the ancient Silk Road, promotes globalisation and inclusive development as well as providing an extensive platform connecting and prospering China’s economy including other countries like Malaysia along the Belt and Road routes.

4. I am pleased to inform that Malaysia is one of the earliest country to lend our undivided support for Belt and Road initiative via numerous infrastructure connectivity projects by forming strategic partnership with China.

Distinguished Guests, ladies and gentlemen,

5. It is a known fact that the ultimate goal of this One Belt and One Road Initiative is connectivity through infrastructure development. As I have mentioned earlier, Malaysia is currently going through a massive transformation agenda particularly in our transport sector.

6. This includes the extension of Light Rail Transit, the new Mass Rapid Transit and enhancing the commuter services within the Kuala Lumpur area as well as improving our interstate connectivity and at the same time enhancing our capacity in both maritime and aviation industries.

7. In this regard, I am proud and happy with China’s continuous involvement and investment in Malaysia particularly in the rail and maritime industry, in line with the Belt and Road objectives. This includes the double track electric train connecting north and south of peninsular and the recently announced East Coast Rail Link.

8. Beyond that, I am sure many of you are aware that we are currently in the midst of building the High Speed Rail project linking Kuala Lumpur to Singapore that is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

9. All of these massive infrastructure developments will enhance regional and international connectivity via cross border link.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

10. China’s investment in Malaysia goes beyond rail industry, as both countries signed the Malaysia-China Port Alliance involving our 6 Federal ports and 10 Chinese ports to leverage on the Maritime Silk Road of China back then in 2015. I am also happy to note that China will be adding two more ports to this alliance and Malaysia too will follow suit.

11. Moreover, proposal to develop a port under the Melaka Gateway project is indeed timely. The existence of this deep sea port will play a very significant role in the growth of the maritime industry in Malaysia.

12. Going back in the 1400s, Malacca was one of the important port of call during the ancient Maritime Silk Road, leading to trade and cultural exchange between Malacaa and China.

13. I am glad to note that with the One-Belt-One Road initiative and this deep sea port, Malacca will once again rise and play a prominent role in the world’s maritime sector.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

14. It is without a doubt that the One Belt and One Road Initiative will mutually benefit both Malaysia and China. Due to its strategic partnership with China, we are able to implement infrastructure projects faster through strategic partnerships.

15. I strongly believe the outcome of such alliance and have worked tirelessly to attract more investments into Malaysia’s ports, railways and airports under the One Belt and One Road Initiative economic expansion which will eventually boost bilateral trade and investments between both countries.

16. I am of the opinion that given our commitment, we can achieve the bilateral trade target of US$160 billion (RM640 billion) with continued investments from China under One Belt and One Road Initiative in 2018 and 2019.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

17. Malaysia also realised in order for us to fulfil our desire to be a high income nation, the logistics sector must play a key role. Towards this end, the government launched a Logistics and Trade Facilitation Masterplan back in 2015 with five (5) Strategic Shifts and 21 Action Items over a five-year period envision an audacious goal for Malaysia to be the “preferred logistics gateway to Asia” by 2020 and beyond.

18. Furthermore, many of you might be aware of the launching of an innovative initiative – the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Aeropolis by our Prime Minister The Honourable Dato’ Sri Najib Razak and Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman, Jack Ma in Kuala Lumpur recently.

19. The DFTZ has set off an exciting new phase and a significant milestone for Malaysia to be the logistics hub in South East Asia. It is poised to change the entire landscape of our logistics industry.

20. Malaysia’s e-commerce is still at the nascent stage and has a huge growth potential. Currently, this sector contributes only 5.8% to GDP compared to 21% in China and 35% in USA. Its business-to-consumer e-commerce market is expected to grow to US$3.4 billion (RM15.13 billion) by 2020.

21. The Masterplan has hastened the implementation of e-commerce through the DFTZ, digital entrepreneurship programme and other supporting initiatives. Given the right impetus and stimulus, the e-commerce sector will grow exponentially.

22. DFTZ is an unique logistics hub that will enable internet retailers to speed up import and export, and manage the supply chain end-to-end at a central location. It is located adjacent to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and is also well connected with Port Klang, Malaysia’s container port ranked 11th in the world.

23. The Government of Malaysia, particularly my Ministry of Transport and are now actively promoting DFTZ and thus, it gives me great honour to invite all of you to grab this golden opportunity to set up regional distribution centres in Malaysia.

24. We are confident that your investment in Malaysia will pay off immensely in the near future.

Distinguished Guests,

25. Let me conclude by reiterating that Belt and Road will no doubt enhance infrastructure connectivity among countries along the Belt and Road route.

26. Not only will it promote connectivity economically, but will also see tremendous assimilation of diverse culture among the countries, bringing genuine benefits to the people at large.

27. It is my firm belief that this Belt and Road will ultimately benefit nations and people in the region. It is my fervent hope that this forum will continue to build on its advantage as a platform for all participants to share your expertise, identify new ideas and new areas of cooperation.

28. I wish you all a successful and fruitful forum.

Thank you.