The 20th Anniversary Dinner of CECCM (Year 2022)
Speech by YB Anthony Loke Siew Fook
Minister of Transport of Malaysia
A very good evening to all of you.
I am honored to be invited to attend the 20th Anniversary Annual Dinner of the CECCM. The heartwarming words by Ambassador Ouyang Yujing and President Zhang Min resonates with me. As Ambassador Ouyang Yujing mentioned, which I fully agree with, is that the active participation and contribution of Chinese enterprises, as well as hard work and various dialogues organized by CECCM throughout the years, played a big part in the prosperity of economic and trade between Malaysia and China. Under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a large number of excellent, top and advanced Chinese enterprises have invested in Malaysia, injecting vitality and hope into the prosperity and development of the country. Notably, CECCM has been playing its role as the bridge and linkage, building a platform for efficient communications and exchanges between Malaysian and Chinese enterprises, contributing significantly towards Malaysia-China friendships, economic and trade development.
On behalf of the Ministry of Transport of Malaysia, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia, CECCM and all Chinese enterprises for their contributions towards the economic and trade development of Malaysia over the years. Warmest congratulations on the 20th anniversary of establishment of CECCM.
Malaysia and China are close neighbors connected by a strip of water. The two countries are geographically close and share a natural bond of affinity. Malaysia is also one of the pioneer countries to support the Belt and Road Initiative, has unique advantages in jointly building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The latest data shows that as of August 2022, the bilateral trade volume between China and Malaysia has reached US$131.2 billion, a year-on-year increase of 21.2%. China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for thirteen (13) consecutive years. The investment and cooperation of Chinese enterprises in Malaysia are expanding beyond the traditional sectors of daily necessities and textiles, to high-tech and new sectors such as digital economy, green energy, Internet of Things, biotechnology, and high-end manufacturing.
Malaysia’s transportation industry has also been rejuvenated by the participation of Chinese enterprises. Key projects in Malaysia such as the East Coast Rail Link and the Mass Rapid Transit Two (2) are constructed by Chinese enterprises, and have delivered great performance in terms of construction speed, technological construction and project image.
Malaysia has always adhered to multilateralism and freedom of trade, continuously deepening exchanges and cooperation between Malaysia and China under the Belt and Road Initiative, paid great attention to East Asian cooperation. Our national policy has always been encouraging and welcoming more high-tech, energy-saving and environmentally-friendly Chinese enterprises to Malaysia, to assist the country in achieving economic transformation and industrial upgrading, and attain Industry 4.0 as soon as possible. In future, Malaysia will upgrade its public transportation system and develop Intelligent Transportation System. We hope more Chinese enterprises will take part in the projects with the strong support of the China Embassy and CECCM.
Looking forward to 2023, the global economic recovery is on track but still facing various risks and challenges. Further to the COVID-19 cooperation between Malaysia and China governments and people, the countries’ leaders have outlined and set the direction for the next step bilateral relations development. I am confident that Malaysia-China will continue to enhance exchanges and practical cooperation in various sectors, economic and trade cooperation to emerge stronger post-pandemic and sustain the growth momentum, and Malaysia-China relationship will also enter a steady development track. Therefore, I would like to provide three (3) suggestions that both countries should focus on in terms of new developments and new opportunities:
- Upgrading of digital services
The opportunities and challenges coexist in economic and trade cooperation between Malaysia and China in the future. As we enter a post-pandemic phase with increasing positive indicators, which include electronic counter services, public transportation services and road safety improvement, the prospects for these cooperation projects development are relatively optimistic.
With the passing of time and science and technology development, the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) needs to go fully digital, and the agencies under MOT can gradually provide more electronic services. For example, Malaysians often need to spend ample time queuing up at government agencies for services, which has caused dissatisfaction from many parties. Therefore, my next target is to request all external service centers under MOT to enhance and upgrade their services and provide the people with digital online services that do not require face-to-face interactions.
- Improvement of public transport services
Strengthening public transport services and encouraging more people to use public transport are the top priorities of MOT. Currently, public transport services are still facing various challenges and issues, such as damaged trains and train arrival delays. This is also one of the matters I am focusing to solve since I clocked. I hope to engage everyone, especially the members of CECCM, to exchange opinions or suggestions, and offer constructive feedback land transport, aviation, maritime and logistics sectors.
- Ensuring road safety
As we enter the post-pandemic phase, the travel demands continue to surge, but this has also increased the road traffic safety risk. As far as I understand, China’s application of intelligent transportation systems is indeed effective in reducing road accidents and fatalities. As the road safety development is a multi-ministry and multidisciplinary issue, the coordination of actions by all relevant agencies is pivotal.
Although COVID-19 is still around, it will not affect the friendship and relationship between the two countries. Bilateral affairs are still closely coordinated. I have many high expectations for the future cooperations between Malaysia and China. In 1974, Malaysia was the first ASEAN country to establish diplomatic relations with China. Over the past 48 years, the two countries have persevered through thick and thin, and worked hand in hand. Among ASEAN countries, Malaysia and China have always shared a close bilateral relation.
Malaysia’s general election has just concluded, and the new government has been announced. The Honourable Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Anwar bin Ibrahim has emphasized on the economic, political and cultural importance of the Malaysia-China relations at a media briefing, where the Prime Minister informed that he and his government administration will ensure that the relationship between the two countries will not only maintain the current friendship but will further nurture and strengthen the friendship moving forward.
Therefore, we are confident that the two countries will deepen exchanges in the future, continue to explore new opportunities and avenues to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation between the Malaysia and China which will enable a development of a better blueprint for the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. Malaysia is keen to maintain close relationships and cooperation with China in the international and regional affairs, and whilst maintaining a bond of mutual respect and support.
Next, the two countries are expected to further strengthen the development strategies, enhance the breadth and depth of mutually beneficial cooperation, and achieve more results in various sectors. I look forward to more Chinese companies investing in Malaysia in 2023 and further deepening friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation. I also anticipate Chinese companies to make more contributions to Malaysia’s economic development in terms of technology transfer and creation of employment opportunities, cultivating a more skilled talents and workforce and working together to offer more development to the Malaysian citizens.
The friendship between China and Malaysia has a long history, and the friendship between the two countries has been continuously sublimated through sharing of good and difficult times together and by supporting each other. Thanks to the continuous efforts and support from the Chinese Enterprise Chamber of Commerce (CECCM), the tree of China-Malaysia friendship can bloom with vigorous vitality. CECCM has become a platform to promote the development of personnel exchanges between China and Malaysia, strengthen effective exchanges between the two countries in various fields, and build a more solid public opinion foundation for each other. I am indeed looking forward to communicating and cooperating with you to promote the continuous development of the relationship between China-Malaysia on the basis of mutual benefits and to inject strong impetus into the respective development of the two countries. I believe that the people of China and Malaysia will continue to support each other and work together to create a more brilliant new chapter moving forward!
Once again, I would like to thank CECCM for the kind invitation, and I do hope that CECCM will continue its efforts to enhance and promote the economic and trade development between China and Malaysia so both countries will flourish and can achieve greater height.