Malaysian airline, rail service firm eyeing expansion, investment deals in PH -- PCO | Inquirer News

Malaysian airline, rail service firm eyeing expansion, investment deals in PH — PCO

/ 07:39 PM July 28, 2023

marcos and romualdez in Malaysia

MANILA, Philippines — An airline is looking to expand operations and invest $1 billion in the Philippines, while a consortium between a local and Malaysian company is looking to bring in P3 billion worth of rail projects, the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said on Friday.


The PCO, in a statement said that the investment pledges were made during President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s three-day state visit in Malaysia, with Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual announcing that Air Asia’s Tan Sri Anthony Francis Fernandez had already signed a letter of intent.


Fernandez’ letter indicated “expansion plans for his business in the Philippines, specifically for aviation and aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul operations, Air Asia super app and logistics operations in the country”.

“Thank you. We’re all very happy that you have such good – you see such good prospects for the Philippines,” President Marcos said during the roundtable discussion with Fernandez that was organized by Pascual.

In response, Fernandez said that they are excited as to what they can do in the Philippines, especially as they too try to bounce back from COVID-19 pandemic.

 “We’re excited about what we can do in the Philippines and really stimulate small, medium enterprises… we are excited. We think we can bring a lot of value to the Philippines on logistics,” Fernandez told Marcos.

“So, over the next few years, we think we’ll invest about one billion US dollars into the Philippines. We have about 300 million so far.  We wanna grow our aircraft from 23 to 50 including wide-body aircraft… we are just applying for the license now,” he added.


PCO also said that Marcos’ visit to Malaysia facilitated the investment deal between businessman Manuel Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and Malaysia’s Hartasuma Sdn. Bhd.


Initial reports said that the deal for railway-related projects could reach up to P3 billion — which is on top of the $285 million investment pledges obtained during Marcos’ three-day trip.

According to PCO, the collaboration agreement between the two publicly-listed companies stated that “the Parties have expressed their desire to engage in railway engineering and maintenance, and other rail-oriented projects in the Philippines in line with the government’s aspiration to modernize the Philippines’ railway network.” 

MPIC has interests in the power sector, toll operation, water management, healthcare, agriculture, and real estate. 

Meanwhile, Hartasuma is seen as a pioneer in the Malaysian rail industry and is involved in engineering, assembly, refurbishment and rehabilitation of rolling stock and other urban transport solutions like cable systems.

“So, this is another part of that effort,” President Marcos said.

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Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez who was with Marcos during the Malaysia trip said discussions on potential deals went smoothly partly due to the President’s presence.

“Literally, because of the visit, the President’s presence in KL [Kuala Lumpur] hastened the progress of this agreement and.…three billion will be pledged for investments into the Philippines,” Romualdez said. 

TAGS: air asia, Aviation, Bongbong Marcos, Investments, Malaysia, Philippines, Railways

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