Deepening ties: PM’s maiden visit to Malaysia aimed at boosting cooperation

Deepening ties: PM’s maiden visit to Malaysia aimed at boosting cooperation

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Prime Minister Hun Manet (R) and his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim hold talks on the sidelines of the Asean Summit in Indonesia last year.

Prime Minister Hun Manet is expected to witness the signing of three important Memoranda of Understanding, alongside his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, during his first official visit to the country from today.

So Naro, Minister Delegate attached to the Prime Minister in charge of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) affairs, said yesterday that during the Prime Minister’s visit in Malaysia, there will the signing of an MoU between the National Bank of Cambodia and the Central Bank of Malaysia on cooperation in the innovation of financial and payment systems.

He said that National Bank of Cambodia Governor Chea Serey will sign the MoU with Malaysia’s Bank Negara Governor Abdul Rasheed Abdul Ghaffour.

The other two agreements are between the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce and the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce, to exchange investment and other cooperation related to the economy, he said.

“As for the agreement on politics, diplomacy and defence, I do not know yet, but the two sides can have further discussions on these areas. Most importantly at this time, we want to deepen relations with Malaysia,” Naro added.

Government spokesman Pen Bona said that Mr Hun Manet’s visit is at the invitation of Anwar, but he did not know how many agreements would be signed altogether.

However, the visit would boost existing cooperation between Cambodia and Malaysia, especially to attract investment and tourism in Cambodia, he said.

Bona noted that during the past six months, Mr Hun Manet has been highly successful regarding diplomacy in the international arena through a policy of “Active Diplomacy”.

“Active Diplomacy is achieved through a policy that expands new friendships and strengthens old ones, and through the practice of economic diplomacy for the benefit of the Cambodian people,” he said yesterday.

“In the past six months, the Premier attended the 43rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related meetings in Jakarta, Indonesia from September 4 to 7, 2023, and he paid an official visit to China and participated in the ASEAN-China Expo from 14 to 17 September 2023,” he said.

“The Premier attended the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA, from September 21 to 23, 2023, and participated in the 3rd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, and attend the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from October 16 to 21, 2023,” he said.

“The Premier paid an official visit to Vietnam, attended the 50th ASEAN-Japan Anniversary Summit in Tokyo, Japan from December 15 to 19, 2023, and attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland until January 17, 2024. He visited France on January 18-19, 2024 and also paid an official visit to Thailand on February 7, 2024,” he added.

Bona said that the Premier met bilaterally with several top foreign leaders. Among them are President Xi Jinping of China, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong, Laotian President Thongloun Sisoulith, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, President of Timor-Leste José Ramos-Horta, French President Emmanuel Macron and King of Thailand Maha Vaijiralongkorn.

Mr Hun Manet also had meetings with foreign Prime Ministers, such as China’s Li Qiang, Japan’s Fumio Kishida, Vietnam’s Pham Minh Chinh, Laos’ Phan kham Viphavanhm, France’s Gabriel Attal, Thailand’s Srettha Thavisin as well as UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

In addition to promoting bilateral relations, Mr Hun Manet also pays close attention to economic diplomacy, Bona said.

Every bilateral meeting between the Premier and foreign leaders, every business forum he attends and every meeting with the private sector is an opportunity for Mr Hun Manet to persuade foreign businessmen and investors to invest in Cambodia, he noted.

Thong Mengdavid, a research supervisor at the Asian Vision Institute (AVI), said yesterday that regarding his upcoming visits to Malaysia and one to Australia next month, Mr Hun Manet is working hard to strengthen cooperation as well as expand cooperation with both countries.

The Premier will focus on boosting economic diplomacy, which will not only involve promoting foreign investment, but also on developing and building human resources in response to the changes in the modern economy, which will enable Cambodia to achieve its 2050 vision to become a developed country, he said.

Mengdavid said that in Malaysia, which is an investment partner as well as a destination for Cambodian labour exports, the Premier will promote the protection of Cambodian workers, encourage Malaysia to accept more skilled workers from Cambodia.

He said Cambodia should also seek out and establish appropriate mechanisms for tourism, culture and trade relations.

“With regards to his visit to Australia, Mr Hun Manet may ask the Australian government to consider allowing Cambodian workers to work in agriculture and other jobs in that country. In addition, defence, military, trade and legal cooperation could also be the focus of the visit,” Mengdavid added.


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