Australia committed to building strongest ties with Malaysia
28 Feb 2023
Malaysia is an important partner of Australia for this region, its Foreign Minister Penny Wong said as she underscored Canberra’s commitment to always work on deepening the bilateral relationship.
She reaffirmed that her government wants to build the strongest relationship with Malaysia that goes beyond existing areas of bilateral cooperation.
Both sides have deep cooperation in various sectors that include education, trade and investment, defence, cybersecurity, as well as science and technology.
“There is (also) the regional dimension to the relationship. Malaysia is an important part of Asean, (and) Asean is the centre of our region.
“We hope we can continue to engage, listen to and work with Malaysia through a time that is quite challenging in terms of our region,” she told Bernama in an interview at the Australian High Commission here on Tuesday (Feb 28).
Wong is currently on a two-day working visit to Malaysia, her second visit here as Australian foreign minister. The first visit was in June last year, soon after she assumed the post.
She arrived here on Monday (Feb 27) and had met with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir.
On the meeting with Anwar on Monday, she said: “I appreciated the prime minister’s warmth and engagement, and the frankness with which we engaged with each other.
“Regardless of who’s been in government, in Australia, we have always seen the bilateral relationship with Malaysia as very important”.
In a media statement prior to her visit, Wong said her visit to Malaysia this time will focus on advancing the significant trade and economic links, cooperation on defence and regional security, and the close ties between peoples of both nations.
Malaysia and Australia’s close ties predate to Malaya’s independence in 1957 and later, the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
In 2021, Malaysia and Australia elevated its relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).
Besides bilateral relation, both countries also work closely on other regional and international platforms, including in Asean-Australia CSP, East Asia Summit, the United Nation (UN), the Commonwealth, and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec).
Both countries, together with Singapore, New Zealand and United Kingdom, also make up of the Five Power Defence Arrangements — a multilateral defence cooperation.
In economy and trade, Australia and Malaysia are also involved in the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (Mafta), Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The total trade between the two countries in 2022 increased significantly by 55.4% to RM88.65 billion (US$20.05 billion), making Australia the 10th largest trading partner globally for Malaysia.
In 2021, recorded two-way trade was value at RM52.28 billion (US$12.43 billion), an increase of 28.7% from the previous year.