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Australia brings 23 firms looking to invest in maritime decarbonisation, RE sectors in Malaysia

Publish date: Thu, 18 Apr 2024, 09:57 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (April 18): Australia brought 23 companies seeking investment in maritime decarbonisation and renewable energy (RE) sectors to Malaysia as part of the Australia-Southeast Asia Business Exchange programme.

Its assistant minister for Trade and Manufacturing Senator Tim Ayres said the mission is to project Australia's comparative advantage as a renewable energy superpower to support the Southeast Asian region's transition to low-cost and zero-emissions energy. 

"Australia has enormous capability in solar and wind and mining and resources capability. We have historically been a partner for Malaysia and countries in the region in the provision of coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to support the industrial development of the region," he told reporters at a press conference here on Thursday. 

Electric vehicles (EVs) are a critical component of the transition towards a low-carbon future, removing tonnes of carbon emissions that would otherwise be released by conventional vehicles. The ease and comfort of driving EVs, of course, are also factors that are attracting consumers.

"We are a big exporter of iron ore and we possess all of the minerals that are required in the clean energy transition. So we have a set of natural advantages and capital that we want to deploy in Australia to affect the lowest cost, fastest transition to be a renewable energy superpower for the region," Ayres added. 

Ayres noted that Australia's major shipping companies and heavy industry exporters recognise that they need to move to zero-emission ships as it is an important part of reducing their carbon footprint. As such, these companies are looking to engage with Malaysian companies to build low-cost, low-emissions ships, he said. 

"That is why there is so much interest in Malaysia and Singapore, two of the great maritime hubs in one of the strongest maritime zones on the globe.

"I'm looking forward to the next coming years of investment and activities in this area. It's going to deliver a lot of investments and a lot of jobs, and I want to make sure that Australia and the Asean region are in the race for that investment and jobs," Ayres added. 

As part of the business mission, Ayres visited Cochlear's manufacturing, servicing and corporate facility here. Cochlear is an Australian company that manufactures and supplies implantable hearing devices. 

Cochlear commenced its Malaysian operations in 2014 and employs more than 400 people at its Kuala Lumpur site, making it the third largest site in Cochlear’s global network, after Australia and the US.

Cochlear is currently undergoing an expansion of its manufacturing site in Malaysia involving a capital investment of RM10 million, according to Cochlear Malaysia vice president of manufacturing and logistics Samuel Pooranakaran. 

Pooranakaran said that Cochlear has so far invested RM50 million into Malaysia for its manufacturing site. 

With the expansion, it is looking to increase its staff to 600 employees comprising highly qualified engineers and entry-level workers. 

In 2022-23, Malaysia was Australia's second largest trading partner among Asean member states and eighth largest partner overall, according to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Australia is Malaysia's 10th largest trading partner. Total two-way trade in 2022 was valued at A$33.5 billion (approximately RM103.24 billion).

Established Australian retail brands in Malaysia include Aesop, Blackmores, Boost Juice, Cotton On, Harvey Norman, and King Living.

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