(Kuala Lumpur) On March 13-15, the US-ASEAN Business Council held its annual Malaysia Business Mission engaging newly appointed and elected officials, fresh from their November 2022 general elections mandate. The delegation highlighted opportunities for collaboration to promote the digital economy, support education and human resources development, and encourage public health investment and reform.
The 2023 Malaysia Business Mission began with a country briefing by the U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia, The Honorable Brian McFeeters and the U.S. Embassy team. U.S. private sector shared policy priorities and areas for cooperation and collaboration with the United States and the new administration of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. The delegates also engaged in a fireside chat with ASEAN Business Advisory Council Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Nazir Razak.
“We are happy to reconnect with the Government of Malaysia in-person, recognizing Malaysia’s success in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of returning to business travel and in-person conversations”, Michalak stated. "In particular, we were able to discuss how U.S. business can support Malaysia’s participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and find pathways to increase collaboration for the growth of the digital economy, to strengthen Malaysia as a competitive tourism destination, and to support the recovery and development of SMEs.”
The delegates met with members of the Cabinet, notably the Minister of International Trade and Industry YB Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, Deputy Minster of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Hon. Mdm. Fuziah Binti Salleh, and Minister of Natural Resources, Environment, and Climate Change YB Tuan Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, to discuss the role of foreign investment and international trade in Malaysia’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
“Following the successive change in administrations and the impact of a global pandemic, the USABC Mission to Malaysia in 2023 is more important than ever,” Mr. Shah said. “The new government seems to be focused on key areas important to American multinationals: healthcare reform, the digital economy, and the energy transition and ESG. These focus areas are important in driving Malaysia’s economic competitiveness and is a testament to its longstanding government policy of being open to free and fair trade.”
The second day of the 2023 Malaysia Business Mission went underway as the Council met with Deputy Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation YB Datuk Arther Joseph Kurup, Minister of Entrepreneur, Development and Cooperative (MEDC) YB Datuk Ewon Benedick, and Minister of Agriculture & Food Industry YB Datuk Seri Haji Mohamad bin Sabu. The delegates congratulated Malaysia in ratifying the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and offered views on negotiation priorities and discussed ways to promote digital and financial inclusion, and more investment in the Malaysia’s health sector. The day was concluded with a cocktail reception hosted by the US Embassy.
On the third and final day of the 2023 Malaysia Business Mission, the Council met with the Bank Negara Malaysia Deputy Governor Datuk Jessica Chew Cheng Lian and Assistant Governor Suhaimi Ali, Minister of Transport YB Anthony Loke, and Minister of Health YB Dr. Zaliha bt Mustafa.
The senior executive level delegation comprised of 3M, Abbott, Agoda, Airbnb, Amazon, Boeing, Cisco Systems Inc., Coca-Cola Malaysia, ConocoPhillips, Edwards Lifesciences, IBM, Illumina, Kimberly-Clark, Micron Technology, Inc., Mintz Group, Mondelez International, Moody’s, MSD International GmbH (Singapore Branch), Oracle, Pfizer, Philip Morris (M) Sdh Bhd, Procter & Gamble, QUALCOMM Incorporated, Samtec, Tesla, Viatris, Visa, and Zuellig Pharma Malaysia. The US-ABC SVP and Managing Director Amb. Michael Michalak (ret.), US-ABC SVP of Policy Marc Mealy, and its Malaysia Committee Leadership Chair IBM Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs (Indonesia, Brunei, and Malaysia) Hasnul Shah led this year’s contingent, encouraging increased investor interest in Malaysia under the new Anwar administration.