Harper heads to Asia-Pacific summit with Malaysian promise to invest $36B

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia – Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads to an Asia-Pacific leaders’ summit today in Bali with what could be called a $36-billion vote of confidence in his pocket from Malaysia’s state-owned oil and gas company.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najid (Mohammed Na-Jeed) formally welcomed Harper to his country Sunday and used the occasion to tout what Najib called a gargantuan direct foreign investment in Canada’s energy sector.

Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas oil and gas company bought Alberta’s Progress Energy last year for more than $5 billion, one of two major acquisitions by Asian state-owned companies that caused the Harper government to tighten up federal policy.

And while the policy change has caused direct foreign investment by the so-called SOEs to collapse in 2013, that could soon change.

Najid, flanked by Harper at his official office, announced that Petronas will spend $36 billion on a liquid natural gas plant in British Columbia and the pipeline infrastructure to feed it.

Harper says the rise of Asian economies is one of the dominant realities of the 21st century and western governments are going to have make smart policy choices in order to keep up.

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