Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund plans to invest $5 billion on projects including energy and real estate in Malaysia, according to a memorandum of understanding signed Friday by the prime ministers of both countries.
A joint committee will be set up between the Qatar Investment Authority and 1Malaysia Development, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, to explore potential ventures, their joint statement said. No specific projects were named.
“We are keen to explore investment opportunities in strategic real estate, commodities and other sectors which can generate very good returns and allow us to further diversify our portfolio of international investments,” said Hussain Ali, executive director of the Qatar fund.
Malaysia is looking to boost foreign investment after emerging from its first recession in a decade. Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy reported a net outflow of 17.8 billion ringgit ($5.6 billion) in direct investment in the six months through September 2009, according to Malaysia’s statistics department data.
“It comes at an opportune time when we are looking out for new sources of growth with high multiplier effects on the economy,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said at Friday’s signing ceremony in Putrajaya, near Kuala Lumpur.
The $195 billion economy grew 10.1% in the first quarter, and growth may accelerate to 6% in 2010, Mr. Razak said Thursday. That’s higher than the central bank’s forecast of between 4.5% and 5.5%.
“Malaysia is an attractive investment destination with plenty of opportunities to consider and explore,” said Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim, who is also CEO of Qatar Investment Authority.