How much of approved FDI is actually coming?


Projects approved by state

State 2008 2007
No Domestic Invest (RM mill) Foreign Invest (RM mill) Total Investment (RM mill) No Domestic Invest (RM mill ) Foreign Invest (RM mill) Total Investment (RM mill )
Sarawak 39 1988.3 13180.5 15168.9 23 403 631.4 1034.5
Selangor 302 2866.2 9004.7 11870.9 318 6989.7 4191.7 11181.5
Johor 173 2315.1 9396.6 11711.7 188 2495.4 6747.4 9242.8
Penang 151 5068.7 5087.6 10156.3 134 1625.2 3143.4 4768.7
Melaka 41 182.3 3452.2 3634.5 38 1618.5 2219.2 3837.7
Perak 50 696.8 2433.2 3130 59 651.7 1382.9 2034.6
Kedah 46 288.1 2279.3 2567.3 46 7856.7 6133.6 13990.2
N Sembilan 26 821 294.8 1115.8 40 493.6 2181.9 2675.6
Pahang 23 1017.7 63.1 1080.7 28 406.9 1156.9 1563.8
T’ganu 9 636.8 355.5 992.3 11 2772.2 3391.1 6163.2
Sabah 40 620.6 343.8 964.4 41 1080.9 2176.7 3257.5
Perlis 2 63.3 107 170.3 2 7.1 0 7.1
KL 12 94 23.8 117.8 12 52.8 39.6 92.4
Kelantan 3 17.6 66 83.6 9 52.6 30.1 82.7
Labuan 2 9.8 10.7 20.5
Total 919 16686.2 46098.8 62785 949 26506.3 33425.9 59932.2

Source: MIDA

If you consider that RM17.4 billion is for foreign investments in the electronics sector (think Penang and Selangor) and RM20.4 billion for foreign investments in basic metal products (think aluminium smelters in Sarawak), then you begin to wonder how many of these approved projects will actually materialise.

The global electronics sector is in deep trouble; so the Penang government shouldn’t rely on these figures for comfort this year. The figures for Sarawak include the proposed aluminium smelter (notice the sharp jump from 2007), which is nowhere near to being implemented – though that would be a blessing given the environmental implications.

From the Statistic Department’s release on manufacturing statistics, it appears there was a drop of 53,000 in total manufacturing employment from Nov 2007 to Nov 2008. And from Oct 2008 to Nov 2008, a decline of 11,000.

The days of FDI-driven economic growth are all but over. We now have to re-build our economy from the local level – a more egalitarian people-oriented model that promotes social justice. Think of investing in and improving public education, public health care, sustainable farming and affordable housing.

This requires a complete reorientation from the FDI-driven export-oriented model, which has left us exposed to the vagaries and shocks of the global economic system.

It is no coincidence that Singapore has been badly hit by the global recession, which could now turn out to be a global depression.

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Many thanks, also for your great respect for the Democracy Tree… you most of us see the fusion of Nature with all human activity.

This,Anak Bangsa Malaysia adores trees and spends time just staring at their beauty and generosity…


Dear Anil …can you explain, with ref to your graph, why Sarawak is so heavily laden with heavy duty projects in the foreign investment sector.with such a large allocation, which it seems is not fuelling the projects, due to reasons you have given..I thought its main income came from timber, which also gave credence to the story of the Penans and the pocket rich logging companies. Sorry,wonder if I have surmised this correctly….pardon me if I am wrong. Would be grateful if you or someone of the economic minded kind persons who are blogging on the subject can explain to… Read more »


Hi RYN, I am no economist but I love talking to those who are. There are many good economists, bureaucrats and business people in Malaysia and her government services. Even though many are in their late forties and fifties, we can still count on their services for any forthcoming financial crisis. ‘Seasoned through’ is just my cliché remark that Malaysians, in general, have a laid back attitude towards the impending world crisis. It is widely documented that when we have been ‘saved’ repeatedly, we struggle less and optimistically wait to be saved again to our own peril. Yes, it is… Read more »


Dear Whispering9, We have NOT seasoned through this financial crisis. 2nd finance minister said the same ‘we have seasoned thru financial crisis’ 2days ago in papers. I nearly laugh my head off! … In Asian crisis – USA, Europe were still hungry consumers of Asian goods. Only Asian countries pockets were being drained out during the crisis. We were able to export, USA, Europe, Aussie will turn on their voracious appetite. So we were still afloat. Now EVERYBODY in the world is struggling for survival. So macam mana ‘bureacracy berotak udang’ can help? Aduhai dear whispering dont believe ‘bureacracy’. Believe… Read more »


At the same time, the Revenue Depat is looking into my past tax returns. They are trying to scour out what is in the kitty bank. squueze and recycle if possible. Their actions reminds me of Santtan. Squeeze the coconut scrappings over and over again. Add water and squuze again. Mind you, the tax is more than 6 years old. BN Government is desperate and desparato.

Phua Kai Lit

This ever-worsening global economic crisis will result in the ouster of many governments (whether left-wing or right-wing or centrist) as people blame ruling regimes for their distress. This is a certainty. If the BN regime continues to ignore the worsening economic situation (while playing all sorts of dubious political games to gain control of states ruled by the PR), the dissatisfaction of the ordinary people will only grow in intensity. They need to learn from history e.g. even Suharto’s regime was ousted during the economic crisis of the late 1990s in Indonesia. If BN wants to remain in power, they… Read more »


If our politicians don’t dip their hands into the federal coffer, we still have enough fund and reserves to last for another 18 months. For worst case scenario, there is still the huge pension fund. Hate to admit it, but, despite all the negativity said about the 4th floor boys, they actually improved our rating with some of the foreign fund agencies; if we can resolve our political quagmire, we can secure more FDI. Malaysians don’t panic as much, probably because we have seasoned through a couple of recession proactively. If corruption and the politicians are checked, our bureaucracy can… Read more »


Any body with a reasonable mind will stop to evaluate the situation. No rash moves and no spending unnecessary money. They will put on hold any large expenditure. The official answer to any queries will be ” we will make a decision when the economy is back on track”.


I work in the export sector, and, yes, a lot of originally planned investments have been deferred or cancelled. Many of the players who still have a long term interest in staying in Malaysia have not officially “cancelled” their investment, worried about repercussions, but the projects have definitely been pushed out, many “indefinitely”.



Let me guess another stimulus package from tax payers’ money into another cronies account? This time triple? Heck it’s the only thing he knows how to do. Not much of a strategies dont you think?


Recession? What recession? It’s a matter of perception. You just have to change your lifestyle. And if not, change your perception. Once you do this, you will see the wisdom of the BN’s ways…


Sorry lah!. I dont think it will happen. In a nation as with any company, there is no change in mindset until near death. Do you expect this bunch of idiots we call Ministers and MPs to change. They are still conspiring on how to dip into the grease pot.

The only way to change is to change govt. But then it will be too late. …


Don’t worry, people out there.

We are not in recession, only slowing down of economy. No hard landing, for sure.

Only a handfuls are retrenched.Many people still have jobs.

There are plenty of jobs out there, the people here are too selective so we have to recruit more cheap labour from other countries.

The market is still full of liquidity, the saving in the banks actually increases.

Hence, there is nothing to worry about.

People, please spend more to kick start the economy.


what? you speaking in greek?

we the govt under the well-trained economist Najib has a well laid plan.

you antigovt get lost

Jed Yoong

The days of rich pickings from FDI are over. We now have to re-build our economy from the local level – a more egalitarian people-oriented model that promotes social justice.

This requires a complete reorientation from the FDI-driven export-oriented model, which has left us exposed to the vagaries and shocks of the global economic system.

Totally agree. Am thinking of just an agricultural based and erm not economic growth driven model….