Anwar's Look East policy plus China a wise, necessary move — Huazong president - MIDA | Malaysian Investment Development Authority
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Anwar’s Look East policy plus China a wise, necessary move — Huazong president

Anwar’s Look East policy plus China a wise, necessary move — Huazong president

20 Dec 2023

Malaysia’s Look East Policy with the inclusion of China is a wise and necessary move given the latter’s rapid economic rise, said the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong).

“The time has come for us to fine-tune and further expand (the policy),” said its president Tan Sri Goh Tian Chuan.

The same policy with Japan as the role model was first introduced by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammed in 1982 — 41 years ago.

Goh said with China’s rapid economic growth over the past decades which saw it overtake Japan as the world’s second largest economy 13 years ago, it is timely for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to include China in Malaysia’s Look East Policy.

“This is especially appropriate, as China overtook Japan as the world’s second largest economy 13 years ago with the United States (US) remaining the world’s largest economy. Hence, for any nation (including Malaysia) to ignore China’s economic prowess would be unwise diplomatically and economically,” he told Bernama.

With Malaysia being the first Asean nation to establish diplomatic ties with China in 1974, which will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with China next year, Goh emphasised that it is an opportune time for Anwar to moot the idea.

Anwar, who is also the finance minister, told Asahi Shimbun in an interview in Tokyo on Dec 17, 2023 that Malaysia, which has long looked to Japan and South Korea as models for economic development, is now also interested in learning from China. “I wouldn’t say ‘East’ (in this policy) means Japan and South Korea minus China. Now, when we say ‘Look East,’ it’s East (including China)”, Anwar was quoted as saying by Japanese newspapers.

Anwar’s era

Goh noted that since Anwar became Malaysia’s prime minister in November 2022, he had conducted two official visits to China this year alone and has successfully brought in a host of advanced Chinese technologies and financially strong investors to set up operations and collaborate with Malaysian businesses.   “I strongly believe that with a strong and stable strategic partnership in Anwar’s era, diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China will be at its peak,” he said.

He added that more China investors are expected to invest in Malaysia following the positive shift in the present government’s stance towards Chinese investments, coupled with closer bilateral ties under Anwar’s leadership.

Malaysia-China bilateral trade hit a record high of US$203.6 billion in 2022.

For the first nine months of 2023, trade with China was recorded at RM410.01 billion, with exports at RM174.55 billion, mainly comprising shipments of electronics and electrical (E&E) products, palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products as well as iron and steel products.

Moving forward, Goh said Malaysia could boost its collaboration with China in the field of advanced technologies, such as aerospace, automotive, high-speed rail, artificial intelligence, drone technology, e-commerce, logistics and packaging as well as environmental technologies.

“Other sectors that are worth collaborating include higher education, human resources, culture and tourism, which would ultimately boost bilateral trade and social relations between Malaysia and China,” he added.

Goh said the Malaysian business sector hopes that the government will continue to strengthen its diplomatic ties with China.

Source: Bernama