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Stephen Harper arrived for a summit of Asian leaders Sunday with economic momentum, following an announcement that Malaysia’s state-owned energy giant, Petronas, plans what its prime minister termed a “gargantuan” investment of $36 billion in Canada.
Petronas plans to build both a liquefied natural gas plant and fund the building by a Canadian company of a pipeline from the plant, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Sunday. This investment will be in addition to the nearly $6 billion Cdn that Petronas paid last year to purchase Calgary-based Progress Energy Inc.
“I am told this is the largest direct investment in Canada by any country,” Najib said at a brief news conference in the opulent prime minister’s office in Putrajaya, near Kuala Lumpur, before he and Harper left Malaysia separately to attend the annual APEC summit of Pacific Rim leaders.
“This is a very significant landmark decision by Petronas,” Najib said. “It is done in the wake of the friendly relations we have and the positive response we received from the Canadian government in respect to Petronas’ involvement in Canada … We have a very high level of confidence that this investment will be supported by the Canadian government today and in the future.
“We believe that this project will be mutually beneficial because it will open up Canadian energy to new markets, not simply in east Asia, at the same time creating jobs.” The Malaysian leader said his government would be equally welcoming of Canadian investment.
Harper did not refer directly to Najib’s remarks about the Petronas investment – or to the huge dollar figure that his Malaysian counterpart attached to it – before making the three-hour flight to Bali on an RCAF aircraft. But he said, “We view the Petronas investment very positively. All the indications are that Petronas is looking at further investments and Canada is very excited about this possibility.”
Such investments will each be judged on their own merits and whether they serve Canadian interests, he added. “Obviously our policy involves the use of discretion when it comes to state-owned enterprise,” Harper said.
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