Newly appointed Minister of International Trade and Industry Darell Leiking, who clocked in for his first day of work at the ministry today, said Malaysia is ready to work with all countries on aspects of trade.
“Malaysia is ready to work with everyone but let’s wait for our meeting with the prime minister. We need a little bit of time to discuss with him on what he intends to do,” Leiking said at a media briefing after the official handover ceremony.
He was responding to questions regarding concerns on the new government’s plans on shifting the country away from dependence on investments from China.
Previously, it was reported that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is set to woo investors in Japan and offer business deals during his recent trip to the country, which indicates a shift back to the “Look East” policy.
However, Leiking said as far as trade and industry policies are concerned, he and his new deputy, Dr Ong Kian Ming, would discuss the direction with the prime minister at the upcoming Cabinet meeting.
“Our top agenda is to make Malaysia really big in industry and trade,” he said.
Nevertheless, Ong said looking at the positive response from the opening of the first Alibaba Group office in Southeast Asia here recently, he believes that such investment is good for the country as well as Chinese companies.
“We could see from the positive dialogue that Jack Ma (Alibaba Group co-founder) had with our prime minister and finance minister, which indicates that we would welcome many more of these types of value added investments here,” he added.
Meanwhile, the former international trade and industry minister, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who was present at the ceremony, said the smooth handover of duties to the new minister was a sign of mature politics. “We have to mature along the way and progress in life. This is politics in the country and we have to move upwards.”
Leiking, who was delighted with Mustapa’s presence at the ceremony, commended the former trade and industry minister and said he was hoping to do as well.
“More or so we have to be prepared with Tok Pa’s (Mustapa) questions in parliament,” Leiking joked.
In response, Mustapa said, “Now I am on the other side, I hope to do a better job than them (in the opposition). But I can assure you that you will have an excellent team here (in the ministry).”
- The Star