KUALA LUMPUR: The long standing Malaysia-China bilateral relations will only go stronger as the two nations engage with one another in industries of the future, says Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
He said yesterday that more collaborations are in the pipeline in technology development.
“Apart from trade, we are also talking about industries of the future, such as the artificial intelligence and robotics areas.
“We are very positive. There will be more collaborations in those industries in near future.
“And I am confident our relations will be better, in addition to China promising to purchase more palm oil from us,” he told reporters after opening the “45 Years of Glory” photo exhibition at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.
Describing the Malaysia-China relations as ‘’civilisational’’ that began way longer than 45 years ago, Saifuddin said such relations transcended any barrier of diplomacy, trade and friendship between them.
“For example, Malaysia is a Muslim majority country and China accepted Islam much earlier and has more Muslim citizens compared to us.
“The migration of the Chinese (to then Malaya) began during the Melaka Sultanate era instead of the time of British colonisation.
“That is why I said our bilateral relations began hundreds of years ago before 1974, evident in our religious similarity (in Islam) and cultural exchange (from Chinese migration),” he said.
Saifuddin noted that it was remarkable for a small country like Malaysia to maintain such a good and long relationship with China, which is one of the superpowers in the world.
“We have instances where other superpower bullies a small nation, superpowers that manufacture international consent against small nations, and also superpowers declaring physical war and trade war against small nations.
“There is never this kind of issue between Beijing and Kuala Lumpur.
“In fact, China was the first country that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad visited and also the only country he visited twice in a year after Pakatan Harapan came into power.“That shows how close we are,” he said, adding that Malaysia and China are moving forward from “hundreds of years of history and looking at hundreds of years in the future.”
Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian said that leaders from both countries who made the historic decision to establish diplomatic relations amidst the East-West Cold War 45 years ago bore fruits of mutual trust, long-term friendly relationship and cooperation in many areas throughout the decades.
“Malaysia was the first South-East Asian country to establish diplomatic relations with China.
“Over the past 45 years, both countries have had a high-level of bilateral and political mutual trust, achieved long-term development of friendly relationship and had fruitful cooperation in various areas.
“All these have benefited the people of the two countries with tangible interests and win-win results,” he said in his speech.
Bai said Malaysia witnessed a historical general election last year.
Welcoming the smooth change-over, he said: “China-Malaysia relations are entering into a new phase.”He said that Dr Mahathir’s presence at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China last month have made the future path clearer for the two nations.
“I am confident with joint efforts from the two governments and the people, China-Malaysia will create more remarkable achievements together,” he added.
Malaysia’s special envoy to China, Tan Kok Wai called on the younger generation to gain insight from the exhibition and learn from the past, as “the past, the present and the future are interconnected.”
“The long-term and stable ties between Malaysia and China is invaluable. We should work hand in hand to preserve this relationship from generation to generation,” he said.
To commemorate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations, both countries are co-organising a series of activities this year, covering trade, culture and tourism.
The photo exhibition, which is organised by the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce, the KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Xinhua Silk Road Online New Media Centre, and the Malaysia-China Business Council, is one of such activity. It features 120 historical photographs, covering the exchange and development in politics, society, economy and trade, education and sports between both countries throughout the decades.
Some remarkable photos included one that featured Chinese leader Mao Ze Dong and second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein taken in 1974, and another with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Dr Mahathir last month.
Admission to the exhibition is free and is ongoing until May 31 before moving on to other states.