ASEAN Business Advisory Council Philippines and business leaders recently met with Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad to discuss how to further strengthen the economic relationship between Malaysia and Philippines.
Mahathir was in the Philippines for an official visit after the invitation of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss political, economic and social cooperation between the two countries.
The discussion between Mahathir and Philippines’ business leaders revolved around the economic relations of Malaysia and Philippines through infrastructure investments, and exchange of goods and services between the two countries.
ASEAN BAC Philippines Member and Vice Chair of SM Investments Corporation Tessie Sy-Coson opened the discussion on Malaysia investing in the Philippines.
Mahathir responded positively to this, saying “if there are possibilities to invest in the Philippines, as there are in other parts of the world, we will invest.”
“But we are also hoping that we can stardardize conditions that can lead to investment. Some of us practically inhibit investments outside in favor of domestic, some are in favour of foreign direct investments rather than local. But I think, if we can standardize the procedures, laws and rules for investment, there will be more investments between us,” Mahathir said.
The topic on trade and investments was opened by Filinvest Land President and CEO Josephine Gotianun-Yap. Mahathir agreed that foreign direct investments must be encouraged between two countries.
“If we have common systems, common laws, common rules for trading, the ease of trading will be enhanced and therefore trade will grow. Following trade there will be investments. Foreign direct investment through each country. That also will contribute to our growth. So if you ask me what we need to do now, it is to look into making less difficult for trade and for movement of capital in ASEAN region”, Mahathir said.
On federalism and parliament, Mahathir said parliament is good if people understand how it works. He added that in some countries, only dictatorship can work and if good policies are created by a good leader, then the country will be better. He explained by mentioning Peter the Great, the Russian czar in 17th century who his extensive reforms to make Russia a great nation.
Overall, the bilateral meeting became an avenue to hear the Prime Minister’s wisdom on leadership and foreign relationships.
Selected members of the economic team of Malaysia also joined the meeting. Other Philippine business leaders who attended include: Manny Villar, Chairman of Vista Land Corporation; Henry Lim Bon Liong, President and CEO of SL Agritech Corporation; Daniel Zuellig, Managing Director of F.E. Zuellig Inc.; Alice Eduardo, President and CEO of Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corporation; Dennis Uy, Chairman and CEO of Udenna Corporation; William Belo, CEO and Founder of Wilcon Depot; Rosalind Wee, Co-founder and Vice Chairman of W Group; Gil Gonzales, Executive Director of ASEAN Business Advisory Council; Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar, Adviser on Agripreneurship of Go Negosyo; and Josephine Romero, Senior Adviser to the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Philippines Chairman.