Founder and chairman of the world’s biggest E-commence company Alibaba, Jack Ma, confirmed on Wednesday (May 17) that Malaysia has been chosen as the preferred e-fulfilment hub in ASEAN over Singapore due to the political bad blood between China and Singapore.
Jack Ma praised Malaysia’s efficiency over their setting up of a Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ):
“Malaysia is very business-friendly and much more efficient than I thought. It took only 10 minutes for him and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to agree on introducing the DFTZ when they met in China in November last year. My team and I thought – is four months possible? We have been discussing it with many European and ASEAN countries.”
The new centralised customs clearance, warehousing and fulfilment facilitywill be completed by the end of 2019 and operate from Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s Aeropolis. According to Reuters, the multi-billion dollar hub will deliver at least S$2.24 billion (RM7 billion) in foreign and domestic investments each year.
Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak also appointed Jack Ma as the country’s digital economy advisor – dealing yet the biggest blow to Singapore’s recent push for a Smart Nation initiative.
Singapore is losing out many trade deals and billion-dollar projects from China due to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s opposition against China. The Singapore PM openly called for ASEAN countries to oppose China’s claims on the South China Seas, and have repetitively made jokes about China’s environment issues e.g. calling their tap water “pork soup” and air “free smoke”. Lee Hsien Loong also allowed US military to conduct surveillance operations on China’s movements in Asia Pacific and refuse to respect the One-China Policy by continuing military operations in Taiwan.