KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — Malaysia’s banking sector is well positioned to realise the nation’s aspirations, especially as it is undergoing transformation and significant change, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said.

He said Malaysia, which is strategically located in the heart of Southeast Asia, has one of the highest standards of living in the region. 

“With its excellent connectivity links and plans for more infrastructure and human capital investments in the coming years, the country is poised to be an ideal regional and international base for businesses.

“We intend to realise this potential by positioning ourselves as a hub for global talent, a centre for the development of new and exciting technologies, and a focal point for the exchange of ideas and information,” he said in his speech at the official opening of the new HSBC Malaysia Head Office here today.

Tengku Zafrul noted that at the heart of all these is the country’s recently launched Financial Sector Blueprint for the period of 2022 to 2026 that would be critical for the financial sector to navigate upcoming challenges and opportunities, and a key enabler for the economic goals outlined under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

Ultimately, the blueprint will realise Malaysia’s goal of a more “Prosperous, Inclusive and Sustainable Malaysia”, he said.

“To that end, we truly appreciate long-standing investors in Malaysia such as HSBC who have played a critical role in the country in the last 130 years, and now, to help facilitate Malaysia’s economic recovery, growth and transformation. Thank you, as we need nothing short of a whole-of-nation approach.

“Hundred and thirty years is a long time. It is thrilling to know that for more than a century, HSBC has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Malaysia and its people, playing a critical role in our development,” he said.

Tengku Zafrul said that the commitment includes participation in various national initiatives including the issuance of the world’s first sovereign US Dollar Sustainability Sukuk by the Malaysian government; the facilitation of JanaNiaga and SemarakNiaga to improve business liquidity and access to financing.   

The road ahead, he said is however not without risk.

Uncertainties persist as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 resurgence, prolonged supply bottlenecks, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The risk of the Federal Reserve tightening, as well as China’s slowing economy, will weigh on growth in emerging markets and developing economies.

“Hence, Malaysia is at a crossroads, with a pressing need to spur both recovery and reform. Of course, attracting high-quality investments and elevating Malaysia’s position as a key regional investment hub will be critical to both our recovery and reform initiatives,” he said.

HSBC has spent US$250 million (about RM1.04 billion) to open its new head office in Menara IQ within the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) along Jalan Tun Razak

A total of 5,000 employees will be based in the bank’s new 33-storey office costing. The bank’s flagship branch at Leboh Ampang is also relocated to Menara IQ.


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