Viet Nam News
On the occasion of the National Day of Malaysia today, Viet Nam News presents an article written by the Ambassador of Malaysia, Zamruni Khalid.
Malaysia’s National Day evokes many cherished memories for Malaysians about the journeys we have accomplished since our independence. Malaysia is largely influenced and shaped by three key factors, namely its strategic location in Southeast Asia, its attributes as a trading nation as well as its unique demography.
Malaysia is not only a country that is beholden to a rich history, but also has made many achievements in the past 59 years since its independence in 1957.
There was once a popular opinion that Malaysia had no distinct qualities or uniqueness because of its racial diversity. However, Malaysia’s racial diversity was the very element that made our country unique. This diversity drove the resounding success of the ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ brand in 1999, which turned Malaysia into a major tourism destination.
Malaysia’s National Day theme for this year, ‘Sehati Sejiwa’ (One Heart One Soul), reflects the spirit of solidarity, understanding, togetherness and humanity of Malaysians all around the country and the world. It is an appropriate mark that whatever our differences may be, Malaysians are together as One.
With its cultural diversity, every day in Malaysia is abuzz with various carnivals, festivals, shows, events, conventions and celebrations. Multi-cultural Malaysia is also home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, namely the Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley in Perak, Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Kinabalu Park in Sabah, as well as Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca. Its rich and colourful multi-cultural heritage, delectable cuisines, great mountains and rivers, lush green parks and gardens, and idyllic tropical islands have made Malaysia a perfect destination with immense charms.
The structural transformation of Malaysia’s economy over the last five decades has been spectacular. There are many factors that have enabled Malaysia to attract quality investment over the years. Among others, they include its diversified economy, world class infrastructure, good connectivity, strategic location within ASEAN, liberal and transparent business policies and strong supporting industries.
Malaysia is also a vibrant investment destination. Malaysia today is one of the world’s top locations for offshore manufacturing and service-based operations. This is reflected by the presence of notable companies in Malaysia. Many of the existing foreign investors have also continued to show their confidence in the country’s potential as an investment location by expanding and diversifying, particularly in high technology projects.
Despite the multiple challenges faced by the global economy, history has proven that Malaysia is a resilient nation and has a well-diversified economy resting on the back of its solid economic fundamentals.
When it comes to foreign policy, ASEAN remains the cornerstone of Malaysia’s foreign policy. Malaysia’s successful chairmanship of ASEAN 2015 is evident with the establishment of the ASEAN Community in 2015. This has significantly elevated Malaysia’s approach and engagement at the regional level.
Apart from ASEAN, the nation’s well-being is founded on strong and friendly relations with other countries, bilaterally and within its commitment to the multilateral system. As a member of the UN and a non-permanent member of the UNSC this year, Malaysia is fully committed to multilateralism in advancing global peace, security and prosperity. Malaysia’s record in peacekeeping operations under the UN is a testimony of its dedication in carrying out the mandate of the international community in advancing global peace and security.
Bilaterally, Malaysia and Việt Nam have a long-standing friendship with excellent cooperation in many areas since the establishment of diplomatic relations on 30 March 1973. Our relations were elevated to ‘Strategic Partnership’ in August last year. The strategic partnership is expected to further enhance cooperation in key areas such as trade and investment, agriculture, education, defence, maritime activities and tourism.
In terms of trade, it has expanded over the last 10 years from US$2.2 billion in 2005 to $9.3 billion in 2015. Việt Nam is one of Malaysia’s major trading partners. Last year, Việt Nam was our 13th largest trading partner, with exports to Việt Nam amounting to $4.5 billion and imports reaching $4.8 billion. The bulk of traded products between Malaysia and Việt Nam are electronics and electrical products, chemicals and chemical products, machinery and parts, and consumer goods. This is a testimony of a close inter-dependence between our exporters and domestic producers, and consumers.
On investment, Malaysian investors already have a strong presence in Việt Nam, and Malaysia was among the first countries to invest in Việt Nam in the early 1990s. To date, Malaysian investment in Việt Nam is in excess of $13 billion. Some significant investments from Malaysia this year are the $210 million lottery system by Berjaya Corporation Berhad, the $2.2 billion power plant by Teknik Janakuasa, and the recently-signed $6 billion deal to develop Saigon Peninsula in HCM City by Genting Berhad and the Pavilion Group. With the improving business environment in Việt Nam, we are seeing more Malaysian companies moving into the country.
While we have seen many accomplishments, we are cognisant that there is also much work that needs to be done with its own challenges ahead of us. For that, we all need to be united and work closely together to ensure future success. I would like to wish all Malaysians and friends of Malaysia in Việt Nam “Happy National Day”.—VNS