Mayor urges UK firms to grab business opportunities in Malaysia

01 December 2014

• Architects Bjarke Ingels Group wins competition to design Malaysia Square in Battersea.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today urged London’s architecture and engineering firms to export their talent and services to Malaysia, as he met with the Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohammad Najib Abdul Razak and highlighted the growing opportunities there for UK companies.

As Asia’s most competitive emerging country, the Malaysian economy now stands at $241 billion and is expected to reach developed economy status by 2020. British business is already making its mark in Malaysia, with goods and services exports worth around £3bn a year, a 30 per cent increase since 2010.

Now, a wealth of new opportunities are opening up, following new legislation to liberalise the Malaysian architecture and engineering sectors, and the Mayor Boris Johnson believes businesses in London and across Britain should make the most of what is on offer.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "This fast developing nation is awash with new and exciting trade and investment opportunities crying out for London's great minds and expertise. From great new feats of transport engineering to cutting edge design and architectural projects, I urge more British companies to get involved. It is exciting opportunities like these, in a place eager to benefit from our long experience as a world leading city, that are driving jobs and growth for Londoners."

Several major public infrastructure projects are under way in Kuala Lumpur - including a high-speed rail service between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and the expansion of the Mass Rapid Transit train service. High value integrated transport contracts alone could be worth more than £2bn to the UK if more British firms get involved with more than £40m of UK contracts already won.

On the last leg of his trade mission to forge closer ties to the emerging economies of the Far East, the Mayor outlined a number of successful joint projects already underway in both countries, from the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station by leading Malaysian firm S P Setia, to Western Williamson+Partners who are working on London’s Crossrail scheme and Malaysia’s largest ever infrastructure project, Klang Valley Metro in Kuala Lumpur.

The Mayor of London joined the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, Ahmad Phesal Talib, and a delegation of small and medium sized London businesses including BaseStone, a web-based company for architects, engineers and other construction professionals, to help promote their services to Malaysia.

Boris Johnson then joined forces with the Malaysian Prime Minister to unveil New York and Copenhagen based Bjarke Ingels Group as the chosen architect for the public realm centrepiece of one of London’s largest regeneration projects, Malaysia Square in Battersea. Malaysia Square will link the southern entrance of the restored Grade II* listed Battersea Power Station and the top of the new Electric Boulevard high street that will stretch from Battersea Park Road.

The square will be based on two levels with integrated bridges and stairways inspired by Malaysia’s landscape and geology. A fountain planned for the central amphitheatre is set to be designed in the shape of a hibiscus flower – Malaysia’s national flower. It is also proposed that reclaimed Power Station chimney material sourced from the rebuild programme will be used to clad the square to symbolise the links between Malaysia and Battersea.

The redevelopment of the historic power station site, which had languished for decades, before the deal with SP Setia was struck, has unlocked the development and regeneration of the wider Vauxhall and Nine Elms district. The area is set to support a range of new developments 24,000 new jobs and more than 18,000 new homes. Most significantly this includes the construction of a new underground station at Battersea. Last month, the new Northern line extension received government approval, with work due to begin early next year.

The Mayor is working to fund the link through an innovative commercial finance package, this includes reaching an agreement for a £480m loan from the European Investment Bank which is in its final stages of negotiation. Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, Chairman of Battersea Project Holding Company Ltd, said: “Today, we are proud to present Malaysia Square at Battersea Power Station, which marks yet another milestone in our journey with the development since its first launch in January 2013.

This caps off a remarkable year which began with the London launch of Phase 2 in May followed by a global 13-cities launch of the commercial space together with Phase 3 on 31 October 2014.” The Battersea Power Station site is owned by a consortium of Malaysian investors comprising S P Setia, Sime Darby and the Employees’ Provident Fund. The development management of the project is being undertaken by British based, Battersea Power Station Development Company.