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Malaysia and China Focus on Tech and Digital Growth

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Malaysia and China have signed agreements focusing on technological and digital advancements. Fourteen memoranda of understanding, agreements, protocols, and joint statements were exchanged between Malaysia and China, witnessed by Malaysia’s Prime Minister and China’s Premier. This exchange occurred during Premier Li’s first official visit to Malaysia, marking the 50th anniversary of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations.

Image Credits: Selangor Journal, News Report

Key MoUs involve strengthening investment cooperation in the digital economy, promoting green development, and deepening linkages in high-level manufacturing, robotics, and digital economy development. Additionally, agreements include cooperation in media, postal services, and a national single window for cross-border trade, highlighting a robust focus on innovation, startups, and R&D in agriculture and primary industries. This collaboration marks a significant step in enhancing bilateral technological and digital cooperation.

The collaborative documents involve nine Malaysian ministries: the Investment, Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti); Finance Ministry; Agriculture and Food Security Ministry; Housing and Local Government Ministry; Home Affairs Ministry; Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti); Higher Education Ministry (Mohe); Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry; and Communications Ministry.

Miti exchanged two significant MoUs with China. These focused on enhancing investment cooperation in the digital economy and fostering investment in green development. This reflects a mutual interest in advancing technological and environmental initiatives.

Additionally, Malaysia and China signed the second cycle of their five-year programme for economic and trade cooperation. This programme aims to strengthen connections between key industries, prioritising high-level manufacturing and digital economy development. It also seeks to boost cooperation in robotics, entrepreneurship, innovation, and startups, alongside research and development in agriculture and primary industries.

For the Communications Ministry, two MoUs were exchanged. The first, with China Media Group, concerns cooperation in media. The second involves the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and the China State Postal Bureau, focusing on enhancing postal service cooperation. These agreements underscore the importance of advancing communication technologies and services between the two nations.

Under the Finance Ministry, a joint statement was exchanged regarding the national single window for cross-border trade initiatives. This initiative aims to streamline and digitise trade processes, facilitating smoother and more efficient trade operations between Malaysia and China.

The Higher Education Ministry (Mohe) exchanged an MoU on cooperation in the field of higher education, promoting academic exchanges and collaborative research projects. Meanwhile, the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) exchanged an MoU focused on a science and technology people-to-people exchange programme, fostering direct collaboration and knowledge sharing between scientists and researchers from both countries.

The Housing and Local Government Ministry’s MoU pertains to housing and urban development, aiming to share best practices and innovative solutions for sustainable urban planning and housing projects.

Earlier, the two leaders held a closed-door meeting to discuss bilateral relations and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest. Premier Li is also scheduled to meet His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, the King of Malaysia.

China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years since 2009. In 2023, total trade with China was valued at RM450.84 billion, accounting for 17.1% of Malaysia’s global trade. These new agreements and memoranda signify a robust commitment to strengthening technological, economic, and cultural ties between Malaysia and China, emphasising mutual growth and cooperation in various high-tech and innovative sectors.

As OpenGov Asia reported, Malaysia is actively pursuing its digital ambitions through international partnerships, as demonstrated by its participation in the Second Annual Ministerial Dialogue (AMD) with Singapore. Key initiatives include the Malaysia-Singapore Third Country Business Development Fund, advancements in trade facilitation, cloud computing, real-time payment systems, and cybersecurity. Joint efforts to combat telecommunications scams and promote green practices among SMEs underscore Malaysia’s strategic approach to enhancing its digital and green economy through international cooperation.

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