MALAYSIA will further strengthen its partnership with Japanese corporations, which have emerged as top foreign investors in the country's manufacturing sector with RM62 billion realised investments to date.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia has set its sights on more investments from Japan, particularly in the high-technology manufacturing industry.
The ministry is confident that with steady economic growth, Malaysia will maintain its position as an attractive destination for both domestic and foreign investors in the manufacturing sector.
As such, Mustapa is mooting more trips to Japan to meet investors there, saying that strong ties between both countries will give Malaysia an edge.
"We regard the Japanese corporations as very important partners because Malaysia plans to attract more high technology-based investments in the manufacturing sector," he said at the official opening of Boon Siew Honda's new motorcycle manufacturing plant in Batu Kawan here yesterday.
Also present were Boon Siew Honda Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Seri Loh Cheng Yean, its managing director and chief executive officer Satoshi Okada, Honda Motor Co Ltd president and chief executive officer Takanobu Ito and Honda officials from the Southeast Asian region.
Mustapa also paid tribute to the late Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew, the first Malaysian who formed a strategic partnership with a Japanese company to assemble Honda motorcycles here 56 years ago.
He said Honda motorcycles have contributed immensely to the country's development as they provide cheaper transportation mode for Malaysians to commute to work and in their daily lives.
Meanwhile, Cheng Yean, who is also the daughter of the late Loh, said the completion of the new RM200 million plant is a significant milestone for the company.
Boon Siew Honda is jointly owned by Oriental Holdings Bhd and Honda Motor Co Ltd.
Cheng Yean said the plant, built on a 23.7ha site, is five times bigger than the company's previous plant in Mak Mandin, Butterworth.
Equipped with advanced manufacturing facilities, the plant has an annual production capacity of 350,000 motorcycles for the domestic market.
Among the Honda motorcycle models manufactured at this plant are the EX5 Dream, Wave Dash, Wave 100, Future, PCX, Spacy and Icon.
Boon Siew Honda is the leading motorcycle manufacturer in the country with about 47 per cent market share. The company targets to maintain its position following the opening of the plant.