Several leading Chinese companies have chosen Malaysia as their regional hub, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has revealed. This follows on from a recent diplomatic visit to China, where discussions led to investment commitments of MYR 170 billion (USD 38 billion) and the signing of 19 memorandums of understanding between Chinese and Malaysian companies.
Anwar emphasised the need for Chinese companies to prioritise the hiring of qualified Malaysian workers when setting up operations in the country. While recognising that some Chinese companies bring their entire workforce from China, the Prime Minister stated that the government was prepared to approve applications for foreign workers if the companies could demonstrate that they were unable to hire local workers.
Additionally, the Prime Minister proposed in-house training courses for local workers in companies like automaker Proton Holdings, ensuring that they received priority in the hiring process before opportunities were opened to professionals from China.
China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009, with bilateral trade reaching MYR 487 billion (USD 110 billion) in 2022, marking a 15.6% increase from the previous year. The establishment of regional hubs by leading Chinese companies in Malaysia is expected to further boost Malaysia’s economy, particularly in sectors such as green technology and the digital economy.