1. Over the past week, I have been overwhelmed by the warmth of the reception Malaysia’s delegation has received during our time in China. From the welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, with the guard of honour and 19 gun salute, to the one-on-one meetings with both their Excellencies President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, and the special banquets they accorded us – our hosts showed just how important the relationship is between China and Malaysia.
2. As the son of the first leader in the region to recognise the People’s Republic of China and open diplomatic relations, Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, I am delighted our two countries have never been closer. This week’s visit has enhanced our friendship in many key areas, including trade, defence, security, culture and people-to-people connectivity.
3. The many agreements we have signed will have deep and lasting benefits for Malaysia. Just one example is the East Coast Railway Line, which will completely transform the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia and ensure that the fruits of our country’s development are equitably shared. The railway will be the foundation of a new growth corridor for Malaysia.
4. Another example is the Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline, that will provide energy security, and accelerate further state economic development for Sabahans.
5. And the renewal of our defence cooperation agreement, combined with the first significant defence deal between our two countries with the construction of four littoral mission ships, will deepen security ties between our two nations. We need to work shoulder to shoulder to counter security and extremist threats in our region.
6. Together, the 14 business to business Memorandums of Understanding and agreements we have signed are alone worth RM 143.64 billion. And, in addition, we signed a further 16 government to government Memorandums of Understanding and agreements. Combined, this is a huge vote of confidence in each others’ economies, and the goodwill and trust that has been built up between China and Malaysia.
7. However, there seem to be some who don’t appear to welcome this investment in the Malaysian economy, and don’t seem to want the resulting jobs, skills and improvement in people’s lives. Some have scaremongered that Malaysia is being sold off. This is absurd and absolutely false.
8. The infrastructure projects will remain owned by Malaysia and operated by Malaysians. But for our mutual benefit, we are building them in partnership with our Chinese friends, just as Malaysian firms are in joint ventures in cutting edge projects all over China.
9. These agreements will boost our economy and help all Malaysians have better opportunities and a more prosperous life. For these agreements are truly for all our people. They are just as much for the thousands of swiftlet farmers and half a million oil palm smallholders as they are for well-known corporations.
10. The agreements will result in ever stronger economic ties between China and Malaysia, and bring tangible benefits to our people for decades to come. Not just new jobs and improved transport, but also more sustainable power sources and greater security along our coastline.
11. I had the privilege this week of meeting some of the finest leaders in China from all sectors. We have much to learn from them, and even more from working in partnership with them. We will follow up, for example by cooperating with some of China’s biggest digital industry leaders to further develop Malaysia’s digital economy.
12. China and Malaysia’s relationship is special, based on a shared culture yet with mutual respect for our differences. It is a matter of great personal pride that ties between our two countries – and our peoples – have grown significantly since I became Prime Minister in 2009.
13. I am confident that the relationship between our countries will continue to go from strength to strength as both nations assume their rightful role – driving progress and development together in this, the Asian Century.
14. I would like to express my sincere gratitude again to our Chinese hosts for a groundbreaking visit. We look forward to offering our own hospitality in return very soon.