British foreign secretary to detail UK’s vision for bilateral ties during visit

Global Britain is open for business and there are huge trading opportunities with Singapore and Malaysia

by AZREEN HANI/ pic by BLOOMBERG

BRITISH Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (picture) is expected to set out the UK’s vision for a future bilateral relationship with Malaysia, especially in trade, science and innovation, climate change and education during his time in Malaysia.

Malaysia will be Raab’s last stop in his Asia Pacific visit, which also involved three other nations — Japan, Australia and Singapore.

He is expected to attend a series of high-level meetings during his visit today, including with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin.

“Global Britain is open for business and there are huge trading opportunities with Singapore and Malaysia.

“They are two linchpin partners in South-East Asia, and we share their interests in promoting security, stability and the international rule of law,” Raab said in a statement released by the British embassy yesterday.

The region is also crucial to tackling climate change, hence the UK is looking forward to “taking our relations to the next level”, he added.

The foreign secretary will also declare the UK’s support for Malaysian efforts to clean up the oceans by reducing plastic use and marine debris, and pledge to work together to stop illegal shipments of plastic waste from the UK.

Last month, Yeo said Malaysia had returned 42 containers of illegal plastic waste to the UK, while 150 more containers had been sent to their country of origin.

According to a BBC report, the UK government said it received a request from Malaysian authorities last year to repatriate the waste. Some containers had already arrived in the country, it added.

An environment agency spokesman was quoted as saying that the British government was also “working hard to stop illegal waste exports from leaving our shores in the first place”.

Trade, investment and business links between the UK and Malaysia are already worth over £5 billion (RM26.73 billion) a year, including projects such as the redevelopment of the Battersea Power Station in London.

According to the statement, British firm Smith & Nephew plc — one of the world’s leading manufacturers of medical devices — will be breaking ground on its first manufacturing plant in South-East Asia in Penang, creating up to 800 new jobs over the next five years and giving a big boost to UK-Malaysia trade.

Malaysia is the second-largest market in Asean for the UK.