Friday, May 24, 2024

The Rise of Greater Kuala Lumpur

In the bustling world of global investments and business operations, few locations shine as brightly as Greater Kuala Lumpur (Greater KL). A central nexus for business and innovation, the vibrant streets and towering skylines of Greater KL pulsate with the energy of commerce, innovation, and cultural diversity. Armed with its strategic location and burgeoning ecosystem of talent and resources, this metropolis proudly stands as a gateway for investors, entrepreneurs and visionaries alike.

A visionary, Datuk Muhammad Azmi Zulkifli, CEO of InvestKL, knows exactly the sort of potential the city holds. Recently, VOICE OF ASIA had the honour of hosting him as part of our ongoing InvestKL Coffee Chats series – where he expounded on the remarkable growth and strategic initiatives undertaken by the agency which has helped propel Greater KL into the thriving hub that it is today.

A decade of progress
The modus operandi of InvestKL is simple; to attract as many multinational companies and investors to establish global services hubs and carry out regional activities in Greater KL. And this has resulted in many wins, including, as Datuk Azmi proudly reveals, success over the past year which was nothing short of staggering.

In 2023, InvestKL achieved a record-breaking milestone of RM8.7 billion in committed investments, marking more than 300% increase from the previous year. He’s quick to point out however, these eye-watering numbers aren’t just merely due to the efforts of the previous year.

Rather, this surge in investments reflects a deep-seated belief in the nation’s stability, growth trajectory, and attractiveness as a destination for business ventures, thanks to the efforts of InvestKL over the years – further solidifying the country’s status on the global economic stage.

These investments generated 8,329 high-skilled jobs, a substantial rise from the 2,805 positions created in 2022. Notably, a significant 81% of these positions were in the digital and technology sectors.

These numbers emphasise the growing significance of technology-driven industries in shaping the economic landscape of Greater KL.

Year on year, InvestKL continues to defy expectations – but last year was InvestKL’s best yet, culminating in the agency having secured a total of RM29.79 billion in investments since its inception in 2011.

It’s safe to say, InvestKL has played a huge role in providing job opportunities and income for the citizens of the nation. To date, 66% of the investments or RM19.74 billion have materialised, leading to the creation of over 27,000 executive jobs. Of all these jobs, 74% of these positions are currently filled, providing Malaysians with an average monthly income exceeding RM14,000.

The Allure of Greater Kuala Lumpur

How is it that, despite ongoing global economic and political challenges, Greater
KL continues to stand out as a top investment destination for investors? Datuk Azmi has
the answer.

“Malaysia continues to position itself as a neutral location. Supported by a robust regulatory framework, this effectively fosters a conducive environment for collaborations to take place,” he reveals.

Malaysia’s proactive approach to trade agreements is also another factor that helps enhance the country’s attractiveness to investors – thus ensuring a steady flow of investments from both the East and the West.

Giving back to the nation

InvestKL’s facilitation of successful investments, exemplified by companies like Chery Automotive and Cognizant, underscores its positive impact on the local economy. Following Prime Minister YAB Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s landmark visit to China last year, which resulted in a historic US$170 billion (RM805.2 Billion) in investments, Chery Automotive swiftly solidified its commitment to the region – setting up its regional hub within the year, while also positioning Malaysia as a pivotal centre in its supply chain network.

Similarly, the arrival of Cognizant, a renowned US-based IT engineering solutions provider, marked another milestone for InvestKL. Along with their substantial investment, Cognizant’s Centre of Excellence in Greater KL proudly supports operations in 14 languages, with a significant portion of its talent pool composed of local Malaysians. The commitment to creating an additional 5,000 jobs further emphasises the substantial contribution of such investments facilitated by InvestKL – not just towards economic growth, but talent development within the region.

Looking Into the Future

With all things said and done, what does the future hold for InvestKL?

“2024 would certainly be an important year for us here at InvestKL,” Datuk Azmi says. “It’s not just about sustaining, but amplifying the momentum we’ve garnered from preceding years. Foremost among these is the Malaysian government’s economy framework, a cornerstone initiative that sets the tone for strategic development”.

Complementing this is the imminent conclusion of the 12th Malaysian Plan, coupled with the fresh impetus provided by the National Energy Transition Roadmap (NETR), which promises to chart a course towards a more sustainable and dynamic economic landscape. Additionally, the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry’s unveiling of the New Industrial Master Plan, (NIMP 2030), underscores the concerted effort towards long-term growth and competitiveness.

Noteworthy announcements from Prime Minister YAB Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim regarding the greening of energy supplies and the ambitious overhaul of the government fleet towards EV adoption further highlight Malaysia’s commitment to embracing innovative solutions. Not to mention, the introduction of the policy framework Malaysia MADANI is set to play a crucial role in creating a civilised, advanced and skilled society for the country – and it’s something InvestKL can no doubt leverage upon.

Greater Kuala Lumpur is not merely a destination but an experience—a culmination of diverse communities, boundless opportunities, and vibrant landscapes waiting to be explored. It is not just about the structures that adorn its skyline but the people who breathe life into its streets, the businesses that thrive within its bounds, and the culture that permeates every corner.

From bustling business hubs to tranquil neighbourhoods, Greater Kuala Lumpur beckons us with open arms. Indeed, it is an invitation to not just witness, but to participate—to become a part of its narrative, to contribute to its growth, and to embrace the countless opportunities it presents. With Datuk Muhammad Azmi Zulkifli at the helm, InvestKL is showing how Greater Kuala Lumpur has boundless potential and possibilities.

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