Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional has hired mergers and acquisitions specialist Patrick Lau as an investment director, AsianInvestor can confirm.

A Malaysian national, Lau started in the role early last month, having spent the past 15 years in international mergers and acquisitions and corporate strategy for numerous firms based out of Hong Kong. In effect, Lau is returning home to work at the RM111 billion ($31 billion) state investment firm.

"Khazanah is a strategic platform and is a very desirable place to work," he told Asianinvestor.

Lau becomes one of a number of investment directors at Khazanah. His job is to source and implement investment and divestment opportunities, with one of his specific mandates being to help develop the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.

"These two states are relatively underdeveloped but have a great deal of natural assets, culture, strategic locations and resources to offer. I am looking at strategic opportunities to aid in their development, to explore what would be good for their long-term, sustainable future," he said.

Lau confirmed he would examine direct foreign investment opportunities, as well as co-investments.

"Across the board different sectors could be involved. There are a multitude of ways to look at this," he explained.

He added that spending the past 15 years operating in international M&A out of Hong Kong had taught him different ways to achieve investment goals, including various deal structuring and syndication techniques. "Hopefully the skills I have learned from my previous jobs can help," said Lau.

Lau served as managing director and head of M&A at China Construction Bank International based in Hong Kong from September 2010, before being promoted to assistant head of investment banking until January this year.

Prior to that he worked on Asia M&A as executive director of investment banking at UBS in Hong Kong and as a senior M&A lawyer at both Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and Baker & McKenzie, also in Hong Kong.