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Malaysia to set up visa office in Mumbai

The Malaysian Govt has decided to open a visa office in Mumbai and also grant multiple visas to Indians.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2006 15:00 IST

The Malaysian government has decided to open a visa office in Mumbai and also grant multiple visas to Indians desirous of visiting Malaysia.

This has been done with a view to facilitate easy travel from India to Malaysia, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Mohammad Najib Tun Razak said delivering the keynote address at the launch of the Malaysia India CEO Forum in Mumbai.

The Malaysian Deputy Premier also said his country would help develop new land overseas, including in India, for developing palm oil estates. "I am upbeat about the cultivation of oil-palm estates here. A few issues, however, need to be sorted out and once those are out of the way, we can proceed," he said.

Highlighting Malaysia's excellent track-record in building infrastructure projects, especially roads and airports, he said that Malaysia's experience could prove valuable to India as it seeks to upgrade its infrastructure.

Urging Indian businessmen to take advantage of Malaysia's strategic location, the Malaysian leader said that his country could prove to be the ideal launching pad to enter the ASEAN market, whose combined GDP was nearly comparable to that of India's.

With the free trade agreement between India and ASEAN being currently negotiated, he said that there was a tremendous scope for "Indian companies with a global vision to partner Malaysia and use it as a gateway to enter ASEAN markets."

Calling for a more balanced bilateral trade between the two countries which presently stood at $5 billion, he said that presently the scale was overwhelmingly tilted in Malaysia's favour and largely confined to export and import of commodities.

There was a huge scope for an increase in FDI flows between the two countries, he said, adding that 52 Indian companies with MSC status have been approved in areas such as ICT security, e-commerce services, wireless technologies, bio-technology, life sciences and business and engineering services.

Drawing attention to the fact that India still lagged behind in hardware and infrastructure, the Malaysian leader said that his country was always willing to partner Indian companies in these segments.

Malaysian companies had proven expertise in tourism infrastructure such as hotel construction, designing, management and also marketing, he said, adding that "if opportunities present themselves in India, then we will definitely invest."

He, however, pointed at the steep land costs here as one factor that could make investors think twice before investing. "Indian hotel rates are three times more than comparable rooms in Kuala Lumpur and so people are forced to build five-star hotels here to recover their costs," he said.

For Malaysian companies to invest in medium-level hotels, the land costs have got to come down to reasonable levels, he pointed out.