Dr M expresses appreciation for Japan’s mulling of yen credit

Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has expressed his appreciation for Japan’s consideration of a Malaysian request for soft credit assistance, which Japan is now looking into.

He conveyed the appreciation during his meeting on Wednesday with Japan Foreign Minister Taro Kono who called on him at Perdana Putra, Putrajaya, during a two- day working visit to Malaysia from Wednesday.

Dr Mahathir, during his visit to Japan last month, had asked Japan to extend a yen credit to Malaysia in the form of a soft loan, and his counterpart Shinzo Abe said he would consider the request. Part of the loan may be used to retire old loans to offset the high borrowing costs.

Wisma Putra, in a statement released yesterday in conjunction with Kono’s courtesy call, said Dr Mahathir was pleased with the outcome of his meeting with Abe on June 12 in Tokyo, where both PMs agreed to rejuvenate and further enhance Malaysia’s Look East Policy, which was launched in 1982 when Dr Mahathir was also the PM.

“For more than three decades, Malaysia and Japan have benefitted from this policy and it is believed that it would continue to benefit both countries, especially through education and human resource development,” Wisma Putra said.

Wisma Putra also said Dr Mahathir, at the meeting with Kono, reiterated his offer for Japan to open a branch of a Japanese university in Malaysia to give more opportunities for Malaysian students to have access to the Japanese education system.

According to the Wisma Putra statement, the students, at the same time, could also learn the Japanese language and, more importantly, the Japanese values and cultures which have proven to be the foundation of Japan’s remarkable success.

Malaysia and Japan have agreed to elevate the relationship from an enhanced partnership to a strategic partnership in 2015.

Wisma Putra said Dr Mahathir also welcomed Japan’s readiness to send its experts to Malaysia to look at methods to optimise the utilisation of the railway lines, especially the double track system.

“As Malaysians have gradually embraced the usage of public transport, the optimisation of the railway lines would further ease traffic congestion in the city centre,” Wisma Putra said. — Bernama