Home Semasa #Semasa: UK-Malaysia relations reach new heights

#Semasa: UK-Malaysia relations reach new heights

by Air Times Correspondent

KUALA LUMPUR, 3 JULY –  Bilateral relations between the United Kingdom and Malaysia have reached new heights, despite the challenging times during the Covid-19 pandemic.

British High Commissioner to Malaysia Charles Hay said that Covid-19 was tough but the UK treasured the memories of working with Malaysia to facilitate the donation of vaccines here, and on keeping the UK’s National Health Service supplied with Malaysian medical gloves.

The UK, he added, had not only had become a dialogue partner with Asean but had launched a strategic dialogue with Malaysia.

“The UK’s commitment to partnership continues, especially in the areas of economic transformation, climate and sustainability, clean growth, education and technology.

“Bilateral trade currently totals £5.6 billion and the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will open up new business opportunities, market access and talent mobility especially with Malaysia,” said Hay at a reception to mark his majesty King Charles III’s 75th birthday at the Sentul Depot.

Present were guest-of-honour Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, UK Minister of Justice Mike Freer and Hay’s wife Pascale Hay.

In previous years, the UK hosted the queen’s birthday reception but following Queen Elizabeth II’s passing last September, has switched to that for King Charles III following his majesty’s coronation in May.

Hay, who is coming to the end of his four-year posting in Malaysia, said that despite the Covid-19 constraints, the UK had clinched many new memoranda-of-understanding with Malaysia.

“Our commitment to a modern partnership with Malaysia continues with blateral trade booming.

“In fact, the UK’s export to Malaysia was up by 8.9% last year. And now that the UK has joined the CPTPP, I expect it will boom even more in the coming years.

“This year we will hold our first ministerial level Joint Economic Trade Committee to further boost trade and investment,” he said.

The UK and Malaysia are also members of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) – which includes Singapore, Australia and New Zealand – which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year at the Headquarters Integrated Area Defence System (HQIADS).

The HQIADS is located at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Butterworth and manned by officials from the five countries, with its commander Air Vice-Marshal Geoff Harland from the Royal Australian Air Force.

Hay stressed that UK-Malaysia defence relations were going from strength to strength and his only regret was that the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth was not able to dock here – as she sailed through the Straits of Melaka – owing to the two-year Covid-19 pandemic from 2020.

In his speech, Hay said that public duties and service was not new to King Charles III as the new British monarch had served as the Prince of Wales for 64 years before, raising over £100 million through his charity work.

“His majesty is now taking on most of the 600 charity and foundation patronages previously held by his mother, the late queen.

“This tradition of service continues, and in this ever-changing world, the British monarch continues to be an important source of stability and strength for the UK, the commonwealth and beyond,” said Hay.

Hay added that King Charles had been known for many years for his passion in areas such as the environment and sustainability, as well as youth and education.

“Looking back, we can see that he was ahead of his time in his focus on the environment. For example, he raised concerns on plastic waste pollution as long ago as 1970.

“I am sure his majesty’s passion for these causes will remain unchanged on his ascension to the throne,” Hay said.

Many Malaysians may have had met his majesty as a prince during his 2017 tour of Kuala Lumpur, Taiping, Kuala Kangsar, the Royal Belum forest in Perak, Sarawak and Penang.

“King Charles III has been friends with Malaysia’s Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah for more than four decades.

“They played polo together as teenagers and the friendship has endured to this day.

“The agong, accompanied by the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah, was the first foreign head of state to meet King Charles in London, after the death of the queen last year,” said Hay.

Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul said he was looking forward towards the CPTPP meeting in New Zealand next month, where he expected to see increase in trade and investment flows with the UK.

“With UK’s CPTPP participation, I expect it to boom even more in the coming years.

“We will soon hold our first ministerial level Joint Economic Trade Committee meeting, to further boost trade and investment,” he said. – airtimes.my

Related Articles

Leave a Reply