KUALA LUMPUR: Although Australia has a strong bilateral relationship with Malaysia, it hopes to develop it to a higher level, says Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
In his keynote address at a luncheon jointly held by Malaysia Australia Business Council and Australia Malaysia Business Council yesterday, Rudd said Australia hoped to find more opportunities for the financial services sectors in the two countries to work closely in the future.
He said Malaysia was Australia's 11th largest trading partner.
Malaysia and Australia are also close to finalising talks with other Asean countries as well as New Zealand for a free trade agreement.
Meanwhile, Sunway University College chancellor Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah Fook Ling and AmBank Group chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim were conferred Honorary Officers of the Order of Australia.
Cheah was recognised for his substantial contribution to the bilateral relationship through his promotion of education and business links, while Azman was recognised for co-partnering the establishment of the Malaysia Australia Combo Commemoration scholarships. The Order of Australia is part of the Australian honours system and the Officer of the Order of Australia is awarded for distinguished service of a high degree to Australia. Honorary appointments to the Order of Australia are made to persons who are not Australian citizens.