Malaysia: The Bypassed Nation?

Aish Mann
4 min readAug 24, 2021

“It’s that piece of land between Singapore and Thailand!”

The United States Vice President Kamala Harris is in Singapore today to counter China’s growing influence over Southeast Asia and to discuss the global chip shortage that is costing US companies billions of dollars.

She’s scheduled to visit Hanoi later this week, the first VP to ever do so.

Considering that Malaysia is a prime base for testing and packaging chips, and electronics and electrical products account for 39% of the country’s total exports, it’s rather unusual that Malaysia was bypassed from this conference. It just might have something to do with the unstable government and high covid cases.

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen more investments from tech giants from both the US and China in SG, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Malaysia left out of the equation from both sides– again.

Our leaders say they’re focused on reviving the economy but we’re missing out on huge deals that could bring in billions and create thousands of jobs. In fact, they’ve actively not even been responding to invitations to collaborate on global projects like the Apricot subsea cable in Asia Pacific.

“In April this year, six ministries including MITI, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, Ministry of Transport, EPU, MEDAC and MOSTI were instructed to study the impact of the cabotage policy on digital investments and the local shipping industry, and to come back with a recommendation in two weeks. Several months have passed and no decision has been made by the government.

The lack of updates after nearly 3 months prompted MyIX and PIKOM to issue a statement reminding that the government’s silence on the issue continues “to cause jitters with foreign investors”.” — Soyacincau, August 17, 2021

Not just that, many Multinational Corporations (IBM, Hyundai, Panasonic, Chilli’s) have left Malaysia this year and refocused their investments elsewhere.

Yes, China has been carrying out projects in Malaysia like Forest City but such projects don’t add much value to the Malaysian economy since they’re funded, built, and completed by China. In the case of Forest City, all Malaysia…

Aish Mann

An economist by training & a writer by soul, I write about topics that I feel add value to the world.