20 Ogos, 2014

Dinner In Commemoration Of The 40th Anniversary Of The Establishment Of Malaysia-China Diplomatic Relations


Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, Good Evening and Salam Satu Malaysia.

Yang Berhormat Ministers

Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Lim Kok Cheong;

President of the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM),

Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dato’ Lim Guan Teik;

Life Honorary President of ACCCIM,

Yang Berbahagia Datuk Seri Utama William Cheng Heng Jem;

Life Honorary President of ACCCIM,

Yang Berhormat Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting;

Malaysian Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China,

His Excellency Dr. Huang Hui Kang and wife;

Ambassador of China in Malaysia;

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) for inviting me as Guest of Honour at this Commemorative Dinner.
Tonight we celebrate your 68th anniversary. 68 years of building stronger business, trade and cultural connections between Malaysia and the Middle Kingdom.

But 2014 also has a special significance. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Malaysia-China relations.

Forty years ago, in May 1974, my father, Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, went to Beijing on what he called a ‘journey of goodwill, to sow the seeds of mutual understanding and trust.’ It was a journey that led to the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries.

This decision was not an obvious one. Malaysia was the first South East Asian country to establish diplomatic ties with China, and there were those – in the international community and in Malaysia – who argued against it.

But as the Chinese saying goes, one sows and another reaps. And the seeds sown in 1974 have indeed blossomed.

Malaysia and China remain partners – and friends – at opposite ends of a fast-growing continent. And in trade, travel and culture, our relationship is set to grow stronger over the next four decades.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In May this year, I followed my father’s footsteps to Beijing. In the Great Hall of the People, with Premier Li Keqiang, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. And we renewed the bonds of friendship that were established forty years ago. ACCCIM, and many of the corporate leaders here this evening, witnessed the signing of the joint communique, and celebrated this historic moment with us.

It was a fruitful visit; with foundations laid not just for stronger bilateral ties, but for greater business opportunities. We were honoured by the warm welcome and presence of President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang; and supported by leaders from the ACCCIM, Malaysia-China Business Council, The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia, Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce, the Malaysia-China Friendship Association, and many more.

I understand that ACCCIM’s visit to Beijing was also a great success, strengthening working relationships with leading Chinese agencies and organisations. I hope that these seeds also yield fruit; and that the understandings reached in Beijing bring new opportunities for Malaysian and Chinese businesses alike.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the government level, we are working towards the same objective. In October last year, during President Xi Jinping’s State Visit to Malaysia, our countries signed a Five Year Programme for Economic and Trade Cooperation.

The Programme aims to deepen bilateral and economic relations, forging an elevated strategic partnership between our nations. It emphasises the sharing of knowledge, technology and investment in the service of sustainable economic development. And it maps out mutually beneficial initiatives to expand business and investment opportunities.

We have set an ambitious target: that by the end of the fifth year of this programme, bilateral trade between Malaysia and China will hit US$160 billion. And we are depending on you – the business leaders who have done so much to build and sustain our economic relationship – to get us there.

The fast growth of Malaysia-China economic relations would not have been possible without hard work by our private sector. The Five Year Programme covers many sectors: from agriculture and energy to logistics and retail. The hard work of the private sector can be clearly seen as it has been the main component of our GDP growth – a respectable 6.3% growth in first half of 2014. I, thus, believe our policies are on the right track.

I urge you to tap the opportunities offered by expanding your business and investments in China, and to encourage your Chinese partners to explore new opportunities here in Malaysia. Malaysia is strategically located, and will be Chair of ASEAN in 2015. Our people are multi-lingual and business-minded; our institutions are strong and respected. Malaysia is an economy on the move, a trading gateway to ASEAN that also offers opportunities in its own right.

I ask that ACCCIM, and all the corporate leaders that are present here tonight, continue to work hand in hand with the Government to encourage more investment from China. Based on past experience, I know you will be invaluable allies as we seek to realise our bilateral trade ambitions.

For years, ACCCIM has maintained good working rapport with all Federal Ministries and Agencies, and actively participated in meetings, dialogues and consultative panels organised by the Government. You have worked with us to resolve issues across a range of economic sectors and industries, and helped formulate national economic development plans and policies.

We have been fortunate to receive constructive proposals and memoranda from ACCCIM. And in return, we have welcomed, studied and considered seriously the recommendations you make.

ACCCIM has been working very closely with MITI, MATRADE, MIDA and China Provincial Governments in organising high level economic and business conferences in Malaysia, attracting thousands of attendees from some of China’s most dynamic regions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased that ACCCIM has been appointed to jointly organise the Guest Country of Honour ‘Malaysia Pavilion’ of the 18th China International Fair for Investment & Trade in Xiamen this year. The Fair is an influential event which will provide a platform for Malaysian companies to export their products and services overseas. I wish you every success in this International Fair.

ACCCIM has also been working very closely with China’s Embassy in Malaysia and the Malaysia-China Business Council to organise dinners, luncheons and an Economic Summit in conjunction with the visit by heads of China’s government to Malaysia.

As the largest chamber of commerce representing the Chinese business community in the country, and with extensive connections with Chinese chambers of commerce around the world, I hope that the ACCCIM will continue to work with us to encourage more Chinese investors to explore business and investment opportunities here in Malaysia.

I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to ACCCIM on your 68th Anniversary. It is my sincere wish that ACCCIM will grow even stronger in the years and decades to come; that it will continue its rich tradition of partnership with the government, as we seek to grow our economy and bring greater development for our people.

Thank you very much and I wish ACCCIM every success.

Wabillahitaufik Walhidayah Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

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