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By Christine Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 (Bernama) -- Business sentiment growth among Japanese companies in Malaysia is forecast to accelerate in the second half of 2022 based on a survey by the Japanese Chamber of Trade and Industry Malaysia (Jactim).
President Daiji Kojima said that according to the bi-annual survey conducted among 557 Jactim members between Jan 19 and Feb 21, 2022, the business sentiment diffusion index (DI) is projected to expand to 20.5 points, continuing its positive trend from the first half of 2022 (H1 2022).
“DI for Japanese business sentiment for H1 2022 rose sharply by 30 points to +9.4 points, turning positive after being in negative territory for eight terms and the highest since H1 2018 due to relaxation of movement control, in particular with the reopening of most economic sectors and greater demand in the semiconductor sector,” he told Bernama.
The online survey received 234 responses, involving 140 companies in the manufacturing sector and 94 non-manufacturing companies.
Meanwhile, Jactim general adviser cum Japan External Trade Organisation Kuala Lumpur (Jetro KL) managing director Mai Onozawa said more Japanese companies are considering expanding in Malaysia compared to last year.
In a separate concurrent survey conducted by Jactim and Jetro KL on Japanese companies’ business condition, it was found that the English proficiency of workers and a good living environment topped the list of Malaysia’s attractiveness for medium- to long-term investment among Japanese investors, she said.
“Business sentiment is driven by new business development in the electrical and electronics sector, electric vehicle expansion in the automotive industry and growth of the wholesale and retail markets,” she told Bernama.
Onozawa said most Japanese companies in Malaysia are now in expansion mode with signs of recovery from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on the joint survey, more than half of Japanese companies in the manufacturing sector in Malaysia have recovered from the COVID-19 period.
However, operations for nearly half of the non-manufacturing Japanese companies have not returned to the pre-COVID-19 level.
“It is hoped the domestic economy would recover further and support recovery,” she added.
She emphasised that Japanese companies in Malaysia are also already making efforts to go carbon neutral and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“The adoption of digital technologies is also relatively high in Malaysia among the ASEAN countries, particularly as COVID-19 has further accelerated the adoption of the technology. However, securing talents is an issue, particularly with the shortage of engineers and labour shortages,” she said.
Onozawa highlighted that there are calls to speed up the process of the recruitment of foreign workers in light of the serious shortage.
In terms of human rights, she said based on the survey, Malaysia has the highest percentage among ASEAN countries in recognising human rights issues such as appropriate labour practices and ensuring occupational safety.
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