Bilateral ties between Malaysia and Indonesia, now at their best in recent years, will see a further boost with the expected signing of three memoranda of understanding following the annual consultation of the countries’ leaders today.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono are expected to witness the signing of MoUs on student passes or visas for higher education programmes, cooperation in preventing and combating transnational crimes and youth and sports cooperation.
Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim said the Prime Minister, who arrived yesterday, was accompanied by the largest delegation of his Cabinet to the meeting.
The delegation comprises eight ministers.
Zahrain said the strong relations between Malaysia and Indonesia have been translated into the rapid growth of trade and investment in the last few years.
Bilateral trade between January and October this year reached US$16.22bil (RM52.46bil) compared to US$15.77bil (RM51bil) for the same period last year.
He said people-to-people relations had also grown, with 15,000 Indonesian students currently in Malaysia, while there are now 5,000 Malaysians studying in Indonesia.
“Among the countries with the largest number of tourists to Indonesia is Malaysia. A total of 1.3 million Malaysians had visited Indonesia in 2012, while some 1.8 million Indonesians visited Malaysia between January and September this year,” Zahrain added.
When asked on ties with Indonesia when Susilo steps down after completing his second term as president next year, Zahrain felt that Susilo had set the foundation for continuity in good bilateral ties.
“We have great relations with Indonesia. You can see he is fine-tuning the management of the country.
“Indonesia is moving very fast, especially in its economic development and its seriousness in combating corruption. I think there will be continuity in whatever he is doing now,” Zahrain added.