Full-swing into shared future

Chinese Premier’s visit augurs well for trade, say business groups

KUALA LUMPUR: Li Qiang’s high-profile visit here, which begins in full swing today, marks the first such trip by a Chinese Premier to Malaysia in nine years.

The last such visit was by former Premier Li Keqiang in November 2015 when he attended the East Asia Summit. Prior to that, Chinese President Xi Jinping came to Malaysia in 2013.

Li Qiang’s presence here holds significant meaning for Malaysia, which has maintained stability and positive economic trade relations with China.

Moreover, the two countries celebrate the golden anniversary of their diplomatic ties this year.

“We have established trust, which has resulted in a strong foundation of bilateral relations, particularly in economics and trade,” said Malaysia-China Friendship Association president Datuk Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan.

“Based on our achievements over the past 50 years, we have managed relations well and maintained strong bilateral contact. We expect this visit to further contribute to our ongoing good relationship,” he said when contacted.

Abdul Majid said there was a warm welcome given to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when he visited Beijing last year.

It also led to Malaysia securing a record RM170bil in investment commitments from China, he added.

“This reflects the confidence of the Chinese government and Chinese investors in Malaysia, so this follow-up visit is particularly significant in the context of the 50th anniversary,” he added.

Abdul Majid said there were mutual benefits to the Malaysia-China relationship, adding that Malaysia was seen as a stable country for business.

Despite the changes in government over the past nine years, he said Malaysia had remained a reliable partner of China.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) president Tan Sri Low Kian Chuan said that Malaysia’s economic and industrial transformation, as seen in the New Industrial Master Plan (NIMP) 2030 and the National Energy Transition Roadmap, offers opportunities for collaboration and investment.

Red carpet welcome: Chinese Premier Li Qiang arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport for an official three-day visit to Malaysia. — BernamaRed carpet welcome: Chinese Premier Li Qiang arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport for an official three-day visit to Malaysia. — Bernama

Key areas for potential growth include high-technology electronics, 5G, artificial intelligence, green investments, electric vehicles, renewable energy, smart agriculture, and healthcare.

He said Malaysia-China relations are at a strategically opportune time for development through strategic partnerships, and advancing pragmatic cooperation to accelerate mutual benefit and win-win outcomes.

“Malaysia must continue to engage China in trade, investment, connectivity-building, regional integration, and security collaboration.

“Both countries can deepen their constructive engagements and exchanges, and bilateral economic and diplomatic efforts, to benefit from new progress and development in the future,” Low added.

Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce vice-president Datuk Joseph Lim expressed hope that the Premier’s visit would strengthen diplomatic ties between the two nations and encourage more medium and large Chinese enterprises to partner with Malaysian businesses.

“Over the past year, many small and medium-sized Chinese enterprises have visited Malaysian factories, showing an interest in investing here,” he added.

He said Chinese companies were also keen to invest in industrial parks and the automotive supply chain, with several regional assembly centres already being established in Malaysia.

“This indicates a transfer of technology from China to Malaysia,” he added.

Lim said the Premier’s visit is a testament to the strong diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China, highlighted by mutual visa exemptions and thriving trade.

The visa exemptions had boosted bilateral trade, he added.

“Previously, Chinese investors needed to apply for visas to come to Malaysia, but now they can arrange a visit today and arrive by next week.”

MCA China Affairs and Belt Road Initiative (BRI) committee chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng said the Premier’s visit symbolised the beginning of another 50 years of friendly ties between the two nations.

He also highlighted future opportunities for collaboration in education, adding that Malaysia’s multicultural environment is a strategic base for Chinese students to learn about the cultures here.

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