“Have Malaysians been deceived over the RM170 bil Chinese investment?”

THE controversy over the RM170 bil investment issue still continues with Titiwangsa-BN MP Datuk Seri Johari Ghani questioning the validity of the claim in Parliament.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim witnessed the signing of 19 MOUs on April 1, which were claimed to bring RM 170 bil in investment to Malaysia.

During the question and answer session, Johari asked if the Investment, Trade, and Industry Ministry (MITI) and the Malaysian Industry Development Authority (MIDA) had undertaken what sort of screening process of the memorandum of understanding (MOUs) before they were signed in front of the prime minister.

Johari claimed that several companies do not appear to have any track record worthy of collaboration with an economic giant like China.

In reply, MITI Deputy Minister Liew Chin Tong said all companies had gone through stringent screening processes, with MIDA conducting the necessary background checks.

On a copy of the press release provided before the MOU signings, providing details of the agreements and companies involved, there are many details missing under the ‘Brief Description of MOUs’ column.

This hints that these MOUs were hastily arranged so as to appear as a major coup for the PM. It looks based on the lack of details given, that little or no due diligence actually took place.

If these MOUs were under the responsibility of MIDA, then its chairman Dr Sulaiman Mahbob   appointed back on Sept 2, 2022 must account for this issue and explain what due diligence actually took place and why no details were provided to the press if all the information in each MOU had been previously vetted.

The Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Minister Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali said the trips overseas resulted in an estimated RM 184.73 bil in potential investments.

MITI Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz confirmed that Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Minister and Deputy Minister affirmed that these MOUs are fully vetted. The press release leaves this in question.


This is a scandal of deceit of monumental proportions. This appears to be an attempt to deceive Malaysians into believing the government is performing well in gaining investment and as a justification for the reported RM 18.6 mil spent on overseas travel.

Malaysians have been lied to about the MOUs being true investments. Tengku Zafrul himself admitted that but only in the last few hours.

MIDA chairman Dr Sulaiman must be held responsible for this lapse in due diligence and replaced with someone who can do the job.

Reporting MOUs as investments has been an old trick played on the public for decades. Politicians, ministries, agencies, and universities have historically organised sham MOUs to give a positive appearance to the public. It’s sad to see that the Madani government, which should be based on trust, would also stoop to such low practises.

Very few MOUs actually materialise into on-the-ground projects. — May 24, 2023


Australia-born Murray Hunter has been involved in Asia-Pacific business for the last 40 years as an entrepreneur, consultant, academic and researcher. He was previously an associate professor at the Universiti Malaya Perlis.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


All photos credited to murrayhunter.substack.com

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