LONDON, July 16 (Bernama) — Relations between the Malaysian and British leaderships have been given a new lease of life following the official visit by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to the UK which ended Friday.
After years of a relationship best described as being in a state of “benign neglect”, Najib said the four-day “significant” visit was a recognition that Malaysia was important to the UK.
“Despite having strong linkages in fields such as trade, investment and education, ties at the leadership level appeared to be something that needed to be rekindled.
“And I’m satisfied that my meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior ministers had indicated that Malaysia is an important country for them to focus on,” Najib told a press conference as he wrapped up his visit to the UK.
He said Cameron had mentioned the possibility of visiting Malaysia one day in efforts to strengthen London-Kuala Lumpur ties.
Najib also noted that within the space of one day (on Thursday), he had an audience with Queen Elizabeth II and had met Cameron as well as three other senior British ministers.
“This is a positive indication that the British side would also like to see our ties resuscitated and be given a higher profile,” Najib said.
He said the Queen would also like to see relations between the two historically-linked countries be strengthened.
Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957.
In the course of the visit, he had a roundtable meeting with captains of industry from 25 UK companies representing sectors like manufacturing, education, finance, media, healthcare, aviation, oil and gas, defence, leisure services, project engineering and security services.
“MIDA and MITI have confirmed that we can expect investments worth between RM3 billion and RM5 billion in the next two to three years,” said Najib.
He said MIDA and HSBC bank had agreed to intensify efforts to promote Malaysia as an investment destination in the UK and Europe.
Elaborating on his meeting with Cameron at No. 10 Downing Street, Najib said he had explained about Malaysia’s role in addressing domestic and regional security threats.
They also exchanged views on developments in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Najib said Cameron was also receptive to his “Global Movement of Moderates” initiative in a bid to counter extremism.
“He mentioned the possibility of both sides conducting a joint forum to elucidate this concept further,” he said.
On his meeting with a group of prominent Muslim leaders in the UK, Najib said they would like to join hands with Malaysian entities in a bid to explain what Islam was all about towards reducing Islamophobia.
On talks to establish a free trade agreement between Malaysia and the European Union, Najib said that the matter may be concluded within a year or so.
Source : Bernama