Việt Nam one of Malaysia’s closest partners: Ambassador

March 30, 2023 - 09:06
Việt Nam was Malaysia’s 12th-largest trading partner in the world last year and fourth-largest in ASEAN, after Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Then Acting President Võ Thị Ánh Xuân (R) receives Malaysian Ambassador to Việt Nam Dato Tan Yang Thai, who comes to present his credentials on February 22, 2023. VNA/VNS Photo

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HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam has emerged as one of Malaysia’s closest partners over the years, both economically and socially, Malaysian Ambassador to Việt Nam Dato Tan Yang Thai has said.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Việt Nam – Malaysia diplomatic ties (March 30, 1973 – March 30, 2023), the diplomat also said the two countries entered into a strategic partnership in 2015, adding that in implementing the Plan of Action (POA) for the 2021-25 period, both countries are further strengthening bilateral relations and have reaped tremendous benefits.

Two-way trade turnover reached some US$19.4 billion in 2022, a 16 per cent increase compared to 2021. Việt Nam was Malaysia’s 12th-largest trading partner last year and fourth-largest in ASEAN, after Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Malaysia and Việt Nam should take full advantage of bilateral and multilateral initiatives to boost trade, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the diplomat said.

Regarding investment relations, he said Việt Nam remains one of the most attractive destinations for foreign investors. With a thriving economy, the volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) into Việt Nam has been constantly increasing over recent years. Malaysian investors are also keen on future cooperation with Vietnamese partners in fields with substantial potential, such as agriculture and aquaculture, halal products, processed food, and electronic products and components, which are among the fields Malaysia will be focusing on moving forward.

The sound relationship between Malaysia and Việt Nam is also apparent in other fields, the ambassador added.

Malaysia is pleased that cooperation in defence and security between the two countries is advancing well, he said, emphasising that his country looks forward to the renewal of the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation which expired in 2018. This will enable a more focused and structured framework between the two sides and strengthen the bilateral relationship and contribute to regional security and stability, he said.

Both countries are also committed to enhancing regional peace and stability through their active participation in ASEAN and other regional organisations, he added.

Malaysia, which will be Chair of ASEAN in 2025, is offering Việt Nam and several other ASEAN members participation in the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP). This is part of the Malaysian Government’s commitment to the promotion of technical cooperation among developing countries, strengthening regional and sub-regional cooperation and nurturing collective self-reliance in developing countries.

“Since 1973, the relationship between Malaysia and Việt Nam has grown stronger, and I am optimistic that it will continue to expand given the many bilateral and regional endeavours both countries are undertaking,” the ambassador concluded.

Malaysian Ambassador to Việt Nam Dato Tan Yang Thai. — Photo courtesy of the Embassy

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Stronger labour collaboration

Regarding labour, Malaysia still remains one of the top markets for Vietnamese unskilled workers after Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan (China), head of the Vietnamese Embassy's labour management department in Malaysia Thái Phúc Thành has said.

According to Thành, labour cooperation between Việt Nam and Malaysia has developed continuously and substantively. The two governments in 2003 signed the first cooperation agreement in sending Vietnamese labourers to Malaysia, which was re-inked in 2015, and 2022 in the framework of the official visit to Việt Nam of then Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Labour cooperation is always touched upon in most of the high-level meetings between the two countries, and closely linked to the interests of workers, businesses and development goals of each country. It is not only bilateral cooperation but also within the framework of ASEAN cooperation, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and trade agreements that both sides have joined.

Thành highlighted the great benefits brought about by labour cooperation agreements between the two countries, saying that these deals have helped create jobs and incomes for hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese workers.

Official statistics show that there are over 12,300 Vietnamese labourers working in Malaysia. The total earnings of Vietnamese workers in Malaysia in the 2010-20 period was estimated at about US$1.5 billion.

He said that Malaysia is considered an "easy" labour market suitable for almost unskilled rural labourers of Việt Nam. Vietnamese workers have the opportunity to work in almost all industries in Malaysia such as manufacturing, mechanical engineering, textiles, construction, services, and agriculture.

Labour cooperation has also contributed to expanding economic, trade, tourism and investment cooperation between the two countries, he went on.

To effectively exploit the potential of labour cooperation between the two countries, it is necessary to create favourable conditions for workers to travel, reside and work legally, and further develop the segment of skilled and highly-qualified labour market, Thành said. — VNS