Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to increase cooperation in the plantation and fishery sectors and to attract foreign direct investment to ASEAN countries, particularly to Indonesia and Malaysia.
Malaysia became the second-largest investing country in Indonesia after Singapore last year. Therefore, the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) offered Malaysia investment opportunities in the plantation and fishery sectors.
"Malaysian investment in Indonesia increased rapidly, registering a growth of 73 percent in 2015, compared to that in the previous year," BKPM Chief Franky Sibarani noted on the sidelines of an Indonesian-Malaysian investment forum in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
The BKPM chief encouraged Malaysian plantation companies to expand their business not only in the oil palm plantation but also in the agricultural processing industry.
"Investors are interested in the development of oil palm plantation in Indonesia but they have to follow Agriculture Minister Decree No. 26/2007 which sets the maximum acreage at 100 thousand hectares," Franky stated.
With this acreage limitation, the government encourages the development of added value industry through downstream agro-industrys development. "We invited investors to invest in the crude palm oil (CPO) processing business and in other downstream industries," he said.
After all, Indonesia has been streamlining its investment licensing services by facilitating investments, such as by implementing a three hour deadline for services. "Three Malaysian companies have used these services with a total investment of Rp2.7 billion," remarked Hanky.
The BKPM is also ready to provide facilities for investors who are in the process of realizing their investment in Indonesia. "We coordinate with the Indonesian representatives in Malaysia to facilitate the investors concerned," he said.
Franky believes that Malaysia is of importance to Indonesia as Malaysian investors were familiar with the country.
Malaysia is one of the priority countries for Indonesian investment market.
The BKPM chief pointed out that (the realized) Malaysian investment in 2015 in Indonesia stood at US$3 billion, while its investment commitment in the same period was recorded at $5.5 billion, up 148 percent from that in the previous year.
Based on the BKPM data, Malaysia was the second largest investor country in Indonesia last year or the fifth largest over the past six years (2010-2015) with an investment of US$7.2 billion.
With regard to investment in the region, the two countries have agreed to step up cooperation in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) to ASEAN, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia.
The agreement was reached during a meeting between Franky Sibarani and Malaysian Minister of Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed ahead of the first Indonesia-Malaysia Investment Forum held in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
"The share of ASEAN investments in terms of FDI increased from 6 percent in 2010 to 24 percent in 2015," Minister Mustapa Mohamed said.
Therefore, he added that under the ASEAN spirit, there will hopefully be more cooperation between bodies under the purview of the Malaysian Ministry of Trade and Industry and the BKPM to attract FDI and cross border investment between the two neighboring nations.
In the meantime, Indonesian Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said in Jakarta on Friday that Indonesia and Malaysia have also agreed to step up cooperation in the fishery sector in areas such as joint patrol and fishing along the border by fishermen of the two countries.
"We talked about having a bilateral meeting to remove any causes of friction, such as matters related to border issues," Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said after receiving Malaysian Agriculture Minister Dato Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
Minister Susi identified a number of sectors where cooperation would be stepped up through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This would also include exchange of satellite and radar data.
Both sides also discussed the possibility of conducting a joint patrol with Indonesia. It could be with the Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla) or under the Fishery and Marine Maritime Resources Supervision.
Susi said she has been invited to attend an international conference on bioprocess and agriculture techniques in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, next November.
Minister Susi explained that in Malaysia, the fishery sector is also under the Ministry of Agriculture.
Earlier, Chairman of the Indonesian Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkikli Hasan said he welcomed the wish expressed by Indonesia and Malaysia to increase trade in their border areas.
"As nations of the same stock, Indonesia and Malaysia should support each other," Zulkifli Hasan said while receiving Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia, Zahrain Mohamed Hashim, at the Parliament building early this month.
The MPR chairman said he stays abreast of the political dynamics in Malaysia, expressing the hope that the Malaysian people would remain united.
"Political egoism should not be at the cost of the Malaysian people and nation. The country should continue to maintain its political stability because otherwise it could harm the interests of the people and the state," he said.
Zulkifli, who is also the chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN), said as they come from the same (Malay) stock, both countries should lend support to each other.
If they have any problems between themselves, they should discuss it like brothers.
The MPR Speaker said the two countries relationship goes back a long way in history. Therefore, both should support each other and share the good things.
"Both the countries should study their respective strengths. Indonesia should also understand Malaysia, particularly with regard to its indigenous people, " he said.