By P PREM KUMAR
Hangzhou: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s five-day working visit to China beginning today may alleviate concerns among Chinese investors on the future of Beijing-Kuala Lumpur ties.
Malaysia’s Ambassador to People’s Republic of China Datuk Zainuddin Yahya said Dr Mahathir’s visit to China – the first since assuming premiership in May – will signal Malaysia’s firm commitment to foster cordial ties between the two countries.
“One of the key objectives from the visits is for the prime minister to pacify the concerns among the Chinese, especially the investors and government sector,” Zainuddin told a press conference with Malaysian media today, in conjunction with Dr Mahathir’s working visit to Hangzhou and Beijing .
He added that PM’s visit is well-anticipated by the Chinese government and business community, to discuss about the future of Chinese investments in Malaysia and vice-versa.
“The visit itself is a proof of commitment that we are focused on further strengthening the bilateral trade, investment and people-to-people ties between the two countries,” he added.
Dr Mahathir, who will be accompanied by his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali and five federal ministers are scheduled to spend a night in Hangzhou and remaining three nights in Beijing.
Tomorrow, Dr Mahathir is expected to hold four-eyed meetings with provincial leaders in Hangzhou, besides a visit to Alibaba Group Corporate Headquarters and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
He is expected to witness the signing of head of agreement between Geely and Proton Holdings Bhd, followed by a dialogue with Proton employees based in Geely plant.
In Beijing, Dr Mahathir will be meeting Premier Li Keqiang and President Xi Jinping, respectively to discuss bilateral issues as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Dr Mahathir and Premier Li Keqiang are also scheduled to witness signing of five Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) to mark the strengthening of Kuala Lumpur – Beijing strategic partnership.
Zainuddin said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will be signing a MoU with People’s Bank of China for an extension agreement on bilateral currency swap arrangement while the Securities Commission (SC) will be inking an MoU with the Chinese Finance Ministry on accounting and audit regulatory cooperation.
Malaysian Rubber Board is also expected to ink a memorandum with Hainan State Farms Bureau and Hainan State Farms Investment Holdings Co Ltd for a collaboration in rubberised bitumen road technology and rubber tapping automation as well as mechanisation.
The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) will ink a MoU with Tsinghua University on development & promotion of Malaysian palm oil biofuel, while the Ministry of Agriculture & Agro-based Industry will ink a protocol on inspection and quarantine requirements for the export of frozen durian with the China’s General Administration of Customs.
According to Zainuddin, the signing of protocol will enable Malaysia to export full durian fruits to China, unlike the current ban imposed due to fear on bacteria.
“Currently Thailand is given permission to export full durian fruits to China, but the Chinese are interested in Malaysian durian, especially the Musang King,” he added.
Besides the MoU, Dr Mahathir will hold dialogues with renowned entrepreneurs and potential investors from China, apart from hosting a dinner for the Malaysian diaspora.
The PM is also scheduled to visit Da Jiang Innovations to view and test drone technology as well as National Agricultural Science & Technology Innovation Park in Beijing.
Dr Mahathir is expected to depart Beijing Capital International Airport on Aug 21, at 12pm.