LONDON’S MESSAGE: We are out to strengthen economic and investment ties
LONDON'S preparations for the Olympic Games are, some may say, as well thought through and meticulously planned as its efforts to boost investments and strengthen its economy.
From securing private sector funding to partly pay for the Olympics, to making sure every venue constructed has clear plans post-Olympics, the British have got things down pat.
Which country would have ensured that 70 per cent of the waste produced at the now almost completed Olympic site to be re-used in the building of game venues and utility stations?
According to a government official, as at January 2012, six of its eight permanent venues have already secured post-Olympics tenants.
London even managed to convince steel magnet Lakshmi Mittal to invest STG19.6 million (RM96.82 million) in the construction of the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture/tower on the London Olympic Park.
All these could not have been achieved without precise planning.
The fact that Britain is using the same precision and thought process for its economy, therefore should not come as a surprise at all.
The United Kingdom, the world's seventh largest economy, is largely dependent on the European Union (EU). About 75 per cent of its exports are tied to developed economies, like the EU, the United States and Japan.
This explains why it is now focusing its attentions on growing the pie, and looking southeast of London to do so.
In January this year, the British High Commission brought 15 journalists and government officials from Southeast Asia to London for a "feel" of the country and the state of its economy.
The goal is to let Southeast Asia know that the UK is open for business.
British government officials argue that they have always had trade and bilateral investments with countries in Southeast Asia.
In Malaysia, for example, these investments have amounted to STG20 billion (RM98.8 billion) in the past 30 years.
The fact of the matter, however, is that the US businesses have always enjoyed more visibility in the region. This is, of course, what Britain wants to change.
From its seminars on how to invest in Asia for home-grown companies, to increasing its diplomatic presence in countries in Southeast Asia, the British has thought of everything.
Meeting after meeting is not only on the UK's plans to woo investments into the country, but also its efforts to get British companies involved in projects overseas.
The UK Trade and Investment, for example, has identified 50 projects worldwide for British companies to take part.
According to the UK High Commissioner to Malaysia Simon Featherstone, two of the most valuable projects listed are in Malaysia.
The projects are the mass rapid transit and the Royal Malaysian Air Force's plan to replace its MiG fighter jets, possibly with the Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role combat aircraft.
UK exports in goods to Malaysia were valued at STG1.22 billion in 2010, placing Malaysia as the UK's second largest export market in Southeast Asia, after Singapore.
UK exports in services to Malaysia in 2009 totalled STG634 million.
No stone has been unturned in its attempt to woo business from Malaysia, for sure.
New life was breathed into ties between London and Kuala Lumpur when British Prime Minister David Cameron stopped by for a two-day visit in mid-April. British prime ministers had not visited Malaysia since 1993.
The visit of the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and his wife Kate, sometime this year is also most opportune.
How well the UK's efforts will be rewarded will be revealed in the years to come.
But one thing is for sure, quoting Cameron during his visit here, "Britain is back... for business!"