Anwar's debut at Apec Summit promises positive global outlook

16 Nov 2023 10:20am
Anwar during the 30th Apec CEO Summit titled "The Global Economy and State of the World" on Wednesday
Anwar during the 30th Apec CEO Summit titled "The Global Economy and State of the World" on Wednesday

SHAH ALAM - Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) is important to Malaysia as it promotes economic growth, facilitates trade, encourages infrastructure development and investment, and supports the advancement of the digital economy and technology within the Asia-Pacific region.

These efforts align with Malaysia's goals for sustainable economic development and prosperity.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar is currently leading the Malaysia's delegation to the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM) in San Francisco.

On his maiden visit as prime minister, he will attend various multilateral and bilateral platforms, including the Apec Economic Leaders’ Informal Dialogue with Guests, the Apec Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Dialogue with Apec Economic Leaders, and the Apec 2023 CEO Summit.

This year’s AELW will convene in San Francisco, California from November 11 to 17.

During the 30th Apec CEO Summit titled "The Global Economy and State of the World" on Wednesday, Anwar has highlighted some key points.

Cold War mindset must end

He said countries like Malaysia and Asean at large should not be forced to see the world and big powers with a Cold War mindset.

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He added that the post-normal times were more chaotic and complex, which required countries big or small to be able to collaborate.

This, said Anwar, was why the meeting between US President Joe Biden and China's Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Apec summit was critical.

Citing the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza, Anwar said there were too many contentious issues at hand, and engagement was the best way to move forward.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister reiterated that both the United States and China were equally important to Malaysia.

"The United States has been a traditional ally and a major investor in Malaysia, but things are changing; there has been an increase in trade and investment from China.

"So, why then put us in a fix, in a zero-sum game? For the benefit of our countries, emerging economies, and also for the West and the East, I believe the solution is, of course, greater collaboration," he said.

Political stability and clarity of policies are vital for a thriving economy

Anwar said that while policy clarity and consistency are essential, the effective implementation of policies also plays a vital role in attracting investors.

"Then, of course, the effective implementation. We all talk about how easy it is to do business.

"We all talk about a one-stop agency. A one-stop agency does not mean that it stops there. It means that you have to facilitate and accelerate the process with clear procedures and policies," he said.

According to Anwar, Malaysia is very fortunate to have drawn investments from China, the United States (US), Europe, and also from the region that have exceeded expectations.

"I mean, the investments I am talking about are huge, and this signifies the confidence of the private sector in the way we set policies and do business," he said, adding that good governance under his administration has attracted the inflow of investments.

Anwar reiterated that a country must remain tough when implementing policies and tackling corruption, especially against the way of doing business that squanders public funds to enrich those in power.

He also seized the chance to attract investors to consider investing in both Malaysia and the Asean region.

"Malaysia and Asean are the most stable and vibrant places to invest, and I look forward to meeting you individually in Malaysia," he said.

Leaders' challenge to deliver on promises

Anwar also emphasised that the true test of a leader unfolds when they hold power, as they are required to take tangible actions rather than merely expressing virtuous sentiments.

"Because, ultimately, one is evaluated based on their deeds. People may grant a certain grace period, but eventually, they need to observe whether one is serious about their commitments.

"This applies to all political and opposition leaders who come into power by combating corruption and power abuse," he said.

Responding to a question about how leaders can avoid being swayed by rhetoric and stay focused on genuine issues while being accountable for the next generation, Anwar explained, "The real test lies in whether, when in a position of responsibility, one can truly deliver.

Secondly, it involves having clear economic policies," he said, adding that trust deficits arise when leaders fail to fulfil their promises and obligations.

Anwar has also met technology giants such as Google, Enovix Cooperation, Microsoft, and TikTok here on Wednesday.

Google was represented by its president and chief investment officer, Ruth Porat; Enovix by its chief operating officer, Ajay Marathe; Microsoft Asia by its president, Ahmed Mazhari; and TikTok by its chief executive officer, Shou Zi Chew.

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to many of the biggest Fortune 500 companies, which are the most innovative firms in artificial intelligence (AI) development, biotech, software, clean technology, and social media.

Apec is home to close to three billion people, 62 per cent of the world's gross domestic product (GDP), and 48 per cent of world trade in 2021.

Despite boycott calls, the Prime Minister decided to attend the Apec meeting, emphasising that his priority is to protect Malaysia's interests in terms of diplomatic, security, and economic relations while remaining steadfast in the country's stand on the issue of Palestine.

The calls for the boycott were primarily related to the ongoing situation in Gaza. Various groups advocated for a boycott to show solidarity with the Palestinians.