KUALA LUMPUR: The Belt and Road initiative is gaining track with Malaysia set to sign an agreement on cooperation with China next month.
Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong said the memorandum of understanding will be inked in Beijing to coincide with the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held there. He said this would pave the way for greater connectivity and economic cooperation between the two countries.
“It will encompass major strategic projects in Malaysia that will be jointly developed by both countries.
“Key projects that could be formally linked with the Belt and Road initiative are the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park, Xiamen University Malaysia, Melaka Gateway, East Coast Railway Link and Bandar Malaysia,” Chua said when opening the Belt and Road Conference: Achieving Economic Prosperity Through Gigantic Interconnectivity, organised by the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) here yesterday.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is among 18 heads of state and government who are scheduled to attend the forum in the Chinese capital on May 14 and 15.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will declare the forum open and host a roundtable summit with the leaders.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are among the world leaders who will attend.
Chua said the Belt and Road initiative would bring ample opportunity for expanding bilateral trade and investment with all participating countries.
Malaysia could position itself not just as a hub for Asean but also for countries along the route when facilitating investment within the region, he added.
Chua said Malaysia’s trade with China totalled US$58bil (RM255bil) last year, while for the first two months this year, there was a 28% year-on-year increase.
Yesterday’s conference marked the first session conducted in English by MCCC for the non-Chinese speaking community on the ambitious Belt and Road initiative.
MCCC president Tan Yew Sing said Chinese foreign direct investments in Malaysia were crucial for economic growth and infrastructure development.
“We are positive that if transfer of technology from China’s investments is completed, it will improve the overall competitiveness of Malaysia’s industrial development,” he added.
The speakers at the conference were distinguished fellow of the Institute for Strategic and International Studies Datuk M. Supperamaniam, Universiti Malaya’s Institute of China Studies research fellow Dr Zhang Miao and Renmin University Law and Globalisation Research Centre director Dr Yan Lijin.
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