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Going Beyond Boosting Malaysia-Myanmar Ties

By Sunday April 1st, 2012 No Comments

NAYPYITAW, April 1 (Bernama) — When Myanmar rolled out the red carpet for Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during his recent visit here, it was looking for more than merely stepping up bilateral ties.

And, Najib did not disappoint his host, President U Thein Sein.

“I come here not to solve problems. I come here to look for opportunities beneficial for both countries,” he had declared.

As proof that he meant business, Najib had in tow a 100-member delegation, more than 50 of them businessmen in such fields as telecommunications, manufacturing, timber, agriculture and construction.

Najib described his two-day visit to the reform-pursuing Myanmar as having come at the right time and having yielded positive outcomes, with several approaches identified to boost ties between the two long-standing friends and open up new sectors.

Najib said he found Thein Sein “warm, spontaneous and forthcoming”.

It is learnt that during the delegation meeting, Thein Sein produced a shopping list and urged Malaysia to invest more in Myanmar and add value to existing industries.

The president invited Malaysia to increase investment in value-added industries such as rubber and oil palm, hospitality, and oil and gas, besides venturing into new sectors such as telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, tourism and construction.

To facilitate the process of strengthening bilateral ties, Malaysia and Myanmar have agreed to set up a joint commission, which is scheduled to hold its first meeting in Malaysia in June.

Malaysia and Myanmar will, among other things, look at the possibility of conducting partial trade in the local currency, given the sanctions imposed on Myanmar.

The prospect of establishing a branch of a Myanmar bank in Malaysia and of a Malaysian bank in Myanmar was looked into.

Malaysia will also establish an office of the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) in the middle of this year in Myanmar, described as a “hot investment destination”, to facilitate Malaysian businesses and investments in the country.

Najib and Thein Sein also touched on the reforms taking place in Myanmar, and the Myanmar president told the Malaysian prime minister that the process is irreversible.

“My sense is that the president is committed and that this journey (of reforms) is irreversible,” said Najib.

Najib also assured Thein Sein that Malaysia would try to convince developed countries to review the sanctions imposed on Myanmar.

Source : Bernama

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