Ma expected to discuss plan for digital free trade zone with Mahathir

Corporate June 09, 2018 01:00


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ALIBABA Group founder Jack Ma may be visiting Kuala Lumpur soon in order to meet Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma may visit Malaysia to meet Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad soon to re-negotiate the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) plan which has been signed with the former government of Malaysia. The meeting, arranged by a businessman who declined to be named, is believed to be re-negotiating with the new government on Digital Free Trade Zone project it has signed with the Malaysian government under former Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. 

The meeting is arranged by a local corporate figure. The businessman who declined to be named confirmed with Sin Chew Daily that both parties are still finalising on the meeting. Dr Mahathir would be attending Asia International Conference in Japan from 10 to 12 June. The meeting will be held after Mahathir returns from Japan.

Ma was scheduled to be in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago. However, as the new Malaysian government has placed its priorities in handling the financial issues of the country, Ma’s visit to Malaysia has been re-scheduled. 

He said Ma has made the initiative to meet Dr Mahathir. Apart from making a courtesy call, it could be re-negotiation of the collaboration plan of DFTZ which has been signed earlier. 

Former Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Ma jointly lauched the ground breaking ceremony of DFTZ to kick-start the project on November 3 last year.

The cabinet under Najib approved the purchase of a 60 acre land in KLIA Aeropolis. Alibaba Group by Cai Niao Technology Ltd Co under Alibaba Group to build a cross border digital trade platform. 

The plan is a joint venture between Malaysian Airport Holdings and Cai Niao, also part of DFTZ in Malaysia. The investment for the first two year exceeds 500 million ringgit.

However, as Najib administration has been toppled, whether the joint venture would proceed or change would depend on the outcome of Ma’s negotiation with the new government.