Govt committed to strengthening ‘meteoric’ Malaysia-China ties, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing last month. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is committed to strengthening Malaysia-China relations with even closer and more meaningful cooperation, said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said the trade and investment growth between the two countries in recent years had been meteoric and this trend would continue to generate more opportunities in tourism and science and technology as well as cultural exchanges.

Mahathir said that from the initial government-to-government relations, the partnership had scaled numerous levels and chalked up milestones making China Malaysia’s biggest trade partner.

“China’s astonishing growth in the last few decades, that catapulted it to become the world’s second biggest economy, had contributed much to its extensive presence not only in Malaysia but in other parts of the world,” he said in a message in the souvenir book published by the Malaysia-China Friendship Association, or better known as PPMC, to mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

“Our cooperation has grown at various levels and sectors. I believe apart from the roles played by government and political leaders, the various associations and non-governmental organisations from both nations, including PPMC, have contributed much to the strong and positive state of affairs enjoyed by both our countries.”

Mahathir said it was in June 1993 when he witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding between PPMC and its sister organisation, the China-Malaysia Friendship Association, in Beijing during one of his many official visits to China.

“I wish to congratulate PPMC for being able to sustain the friendship through all these years and, in fact, taking it to a higher level,” he said.

He said that despite changes of leadership in both countries, the partnership had remained constant through the years, thanks to their adherence to the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and striving to be good neighbours.

“I have always believed in the principle of ‘prosper thy neighbour’ and as China prospered, it has, in turn, prospered Malaysia as well,” he said.

Mahathir said Malaysia supported China’s Belt and Road initiative because the benefits were mutually shared and distributed.

For Malaysia, he said, it was a continuation of the ancient trade that started way back during the Melaka empire and trading between both countries had never diminished for centuries.

PPMC was formed in 1992 with members comprising entrepreneurs, investors, academicians, artists, educationists, politicians, professionals and government officials.

In April 2005, veteran diplomat and former Malaysian ambassador to China Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan was elected PPMC president and he still holds the office till today.