(March 30): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim made a pitch for China to reinvigorate the Belt and Road Initiative, as he urged for collaboration among countries.
“Translating lofty ideals into practical reality, solidarity and cooperation is best exemplified in the realisation of the Belt and Road Initiative,” Anwar said in a speech at the Boao Forum for Asia on Thursday (March 30). “With the pandemic behind us, we should try to regain its momentum.”
Anwar’s call for revival of China’s infrastructure collaboration with developing nations marks Malaysia’s efforts to reengage with the world’s second-biggest economy, which emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic late last year.
Anwar said countries must guard against competition in the technology and semiconductor industries from raising costs and obstructing progress, as nations seek to protect their intellectual property rights and stay ahead of rivals.
“Let me reiterate that unfettered competition must give way to spirited collaboration,” he said.
Anwar is on a state visit to China through Saturday, during which he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of efforts to reinvigorate relations in the post-pandemic era, according to a statement from Malaysia’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.
China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009. Total trade between the two nations touched RM487.13 billion in 2022. China was also the top investor in Malaysia last year, contributing 21% of the US$59 billion (RM260.93 billion) investments the nation approved in 2022.
Anwar’s visit to China is the first by a Malaysian leader since ex-PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s trip in April 2019.
Anwar has travelled to Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Cambodia since becoming the PM, seeking to boost economic ties and his standing among Malaysians after years of political instability.