SERI KEMBANGAN: Malaysia must take every opportunity to build stronger linkages with China to tap the latter's vast economic potential, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said.
“Like it or not, China will become more and more important on the world stage,” he said at the signing ceremony for the 3rd World Chinese Economic Forum here.
“The country's sheer size (of 1.3 billion people) and economic growth are already making it a force to be reckoned with,” Dr Chua added.
Dr Chua, who is also adviser to the World Chinese Economic Forum, said strong ties with China could provide Malaysia with many opportunities for growth, especially in the areas of bilateral trade, investment, tourism and education.
Malaysia's trade with China in 2010 was valued at RM147bil. This made the country Malaysia's second-largest trading partner after Singapore.
Dr Chua believed bilateral trade between Malaysia and China could grow further.
Pointing out that Malaysia drew 1.1 billion tourists from China last year, Dr Chua said: “In another five years, China will become the biggest tourist market in the world.”
“It is clear that the global economy is headed for a slowdown,” he said.
“So, it is only natural for countries to want to bank on the robust growth of China (and of course, India) to propel their own economies,” he added.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, in his written message, said: “The World Chinese Economic Forum provides a useful platform for interchange of views and ideas, as well as to forge business partnerships and linkages.”
“At this year's forum, we shall be promoting the concept of a new economic corridor linking China through the 10 countries in South-East Asia and India to the Middle East a sort of a new silk road.
“This is a challenging opportunity; an idea which has to be further crystallised, discussed and implemented,” Najib said.
The 3rd World Chinese Economic Forum will be held on Nov 3-4 at the Palace of the Golden Horses. Themed Linking East and West in a Globalised World, the two-day international conference is organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute.
According to World Chinese Economic Forum chairman Datuk Dr Michael Yeoh, who is also the chief executive officer/director of Asli, the forum was expected to attract 400-500 participants from all over the world.
“So far, we already have 400 registered participants. In the next week or so, we expect to see another 100 signing up for the event,” Yeoh said.
The forum will feature prominent and distinguished speakers, including Najib, former prime ministers Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former Human Resource Minister and Star Publications Bhd chairman Tan Sri Dr Fong Chan Onn, and Country Heights Holdings Bhd founder and vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew from Malaysia.
Speakers from overseas include China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Dong Songgen, chairman of Straits Exchange Foundation/Taiwan representative to Apec Leaders Summit Dr P.K. Chiang, chairman of Australian China Forum Michael Johnson and Pakistan-China Institute chairman Mushahid Hussain Sayed.
The topics that will be discussed include China's transformation and rise, Asia's decoupling, impact of China's growth on East Asia and Asean, building of financial hubs, role of global and regional Chinese diaspora, entrepreneurship and the growing global network; as well as new economic sectors and investment hotspots.
Further information can be obtained by visiting www.wceforum.com or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.