Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Don't Hesitate To Invest In East Kalimantan, Malaysian Investors Told

January 20, 2010

Don't Hesitate To Invest In East Kalimantan, Malaysian Investors Told

From Nashir Mansor

TARAKAN (East Kalimantan), Jan 20 (Bernama) -- Would-be Malaysian investors need not fear investing in the diverse economic sectors in Indonesia, particularly in Kalimantan, a Malaysia-Indonesia border town, says Tiong Ing Huo, a successful Malaysian investor in Tarakan, Kalimantan.

Sibu-born Tiong, involved in the frozen prawn business in Tarakan, said Malaysian investors would not face any problem so long they complied with the regulations laid down by the local authorities.

Relating his experience when applying to invest in Tarakan six years ago, Tiong said he received good cooperation from the Indonesian authorities as all transactions related to his business were approved in a week.

"I feel very comfortable investing and doing business in Tarakan as I not only receive the support of the local community here but also from the Indonesian authorities," he told BERNAMA after dining with Malaysian journalists who are on a 10-day tour to Kalimantan.

The visit sponsored by Berjaya Foundation led by former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Harris Salleh is aimed at enhancing Malaysia-Indonesia bilateral ties and to explore investment prospects in Kalimantan.

Tiong said since he started his business with a RM2 million initial capital, he had firmly held to the "win-win" formula when dealing with the Indonesian authorities, his employees and fishermen who supplied prawns daily.

"I think Indonesia is a good place to invest. The country has all the natural resources and adequate workforce who can be trained easily.

"Also, Malaysian investors will not face problems with language and local culture as the Malaysian-Indonesian language and culture have the same historical background," he said.

Tiong said Malaysian investors could invest in oil palm plantations, coal mining and transport sectors in Kalimantan which have good growth prospects.

"Although the stipulated regulations are quite rigid, the local authorities are flexible in accommodating investors' requests.

"They understand investors' problems and are willing to exercise discretion to overcome whatever problems that arise to expedite investment approvals," he said.

Tiong, who acknowledged that Malaysian investors were previously apprehensive to invest in Indonesia due to the corruption menace, said they should now come forward to invest as the Indonesian Government was taking serious measures to check graft and irregularities.

"Corruption should no longer be the excuse to skip Indonesia," he said. On his business, Tiong said his annual turnover was between US$12 million and US$15 million.

He said the bulk of his frozen prawn products was exported to Japan and European Union (EU) member countries. The EU has 27 members.

Tiong said he was currently installing computer-operated digital hi-tech cold storage apparatus to ensure his frozen prawn products are in top quality at all times.