MALAYSIA is hoping to offer the expertise of its engineering companies to the Philippines, which is pursuing an aggressive infrastructure program, a Malaysian embassy official said.
“We are very much interested to bring in our expertise in engineering services, things like building information systems, facility management systems, IBS (industrialized building systems). We have been bringing in companies and have been in contact with DPWH (the Department of Public Works and Highways) where we introduce these services,” according to Siti Azlina Mohd Ali Hanafiah, Trade Commissioner from the Embassy of Malaysia Trade Office (MATRADE)
“We would like to share that technology with the Philippines. We have fostered a group of Malaysian companies who came here in October. We hope we can evolve into collaboration in these areas,” Ms. Siti Azlina told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industries Philippines Inc (MCCI) news conference on Dec. 15.
According to MATRADE data, Malaysian exports to the Philippines rose 9.7% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2018 to $3.101 billion.
Malaysian exports to the Philippines include manufactured goods like electrical and electronic products, chemical products, petroleum products, machinery equipment and parts, processed food, metals, plastics, optical and scientific equipment, wood, and transport equipment with a share of 78.2%, followed by agricultural goods like palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, sawn timber and molding, seafood, saw logs, natural rubber, and other vegetable oils with a share of 16.6%, and mining goods like crude petroleum, tin, crude fertilizer at 4.5%.
Ms. Siti Azlina said Malaysia exports more to the Philippines than it imports, and is looking at industries whose products it can tap.
For the agriculture sector, Ms. Siti Azlina said that palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products remain Malaysia’s top export product to the Philippines.
“We are one of the largest exporters of palm oil in the world, but the rest (of the agricultural sector is) very small,” Ms. Siti Azlina said.
“Our agriculture is very much dominated by palm oil. Currently, Malaysia and Indonesia are two largest exporters of palm oil. At the moment, we sell a lot to India. We have investments here in palm oil as well, in Mindanao,” according to Ms. Siti Azlina.
Edward Ling MCCI president, said in a separate interview that Malaysian companies are looking at more infrastructure and manufacturing projects in the Philippines, including those involving the processing of agricultural goods such as banana and pineapple.
“The ‘Build, Build, Build’ program gives so much to do,” Mr. Ling said.
“There are more companies in Malaysia and MCCI will be looking at what the country needs and the agenda of the country. Tourism is one and the (Philippine) government is very committed to improve tourism so more tourists will visit here,” Mr. Ling said.
Asked about areas of interest for Malaysia, Mr. Ling said the Philippines can contribute workers, citing the number of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) already in that country. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio