Malaysia welcomes Chinese companies to bring in expertise and investment as the Southeast Asian country seeks to become a regional railway manufacturing hub, Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said here Thursday.
Speaking during a site visit to the rolling stock center of Chinese locomotives manufacturer CRRC in Malaysia, Loke said he hoped the close cooperation between the two countries would help Malaysia realize this aim.
"We will continue our strong cooperation with China especially on transport related issues and industries," he told a press conference.
"And railway is one of the major industries that we can see strong collaboration between Malaysia and China."
He said he had invited CRRC to make further investment in Malaysia, to increase the capacity of the rolling stock center and to make it as the hub for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.
China could help Malaysia in cultivating local human resources to boost the railway industry, he said.
"We understand to build up an industry we need human resources, we need local talents which of course we know that we are lacking in this industry," he said.
"That is why we hope there will be foreign investment from China, they have the expertise, they have the talents that can bring in with the technology and hopefully they can train our local talent, or local human resources along the way."
Becoming fully operational in 2015, CRRC rolling stock center has the capacity to manufacture up to 200 carriages a year while providing major overhaul for 150 carriages.
It is CRRC's first and only manufacturing facility in Southeast Asia.
Fu Chengjun, president of CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotives that oversees the Malaysian operations, said CRRC has embarked on localization in manufacturing, employment, procurement, service and marketing in Malaysia, with more than 85 percent of its staff in Malaysia are locals.
Also present on the visit to the plant was Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian who said the future of China-Malaysian cooperation is "great potential and bright prospects."
"CRRC is only one of the examples of cooperation with Malaysia. There are many cases, many successful stories here and so far China has invested in about 400 projects, creating about 68,000 jobs in Malaysia," Bai said.