KUALA LUMPUR – The biggest ‘Thank You’ that Malaysians can perhaps say to Japan and its nearly 1,500 companies operating in this country is for creating over 400,000 jobs with thousands more new ones expected as it embarks on a series of new investments.
Multiply these massive employment opportunities by the workers’ dependents, the Japanese presence in Malaysia’s economy is very close to the hearts of millions.
Outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Hiroshi Oka (picture) said in addition to the traditional or conventional core area of investment, the electronics and electricity sector that accounted for about half of new investments, the new Japanese business would be in digital technologies.
Such technologies would enable an extensive networking service to provide the diagnosis of patients in remote areas in Malaysia, and directly connected to hospitals and doctors.
“So once patients are brought to hospitals, there is no need for consultation with the doctors and they are brought to the operation theatre straight to have their operation. So that reduces the time needed for the diagnosis to the operation, while increases the survivability and reduces the financial burden on the government,” he told Bernama.
This technology has proven successful in Japan and university hospitals such as at Universiti Putra Malaysia and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia have started making use of it.
“So we are now in touch with the Minister of Health suggesting why not introduce this very useful networking technologies in general hospitals,” said Oka.
He said Japanese companies were now also working with Malaysian partners to turn the abundant supply of water and gas resources in Malaysia into hydrogen and ammonia — the two key materials for making power generation cleaner.
“We are in touch with Petronas and the Sarawak state government to improve the efficacy of this entire process of producing ammonia and hydrogen in Malaysia, and to transport it to Japan and other countries in the region to be used for making the power generation process cleaner,” Oka added.
Oka, who has been named as Japan’s new ambassador to Egypt said education was another highlight in the bilateral relations, boosted by as many as 30,000 Malaysians having come to Japan either for higher education or training purposes.
“This human capacity development is the pillar of our cooperation. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, very promising Malaysian students continue to visit Japan to learn Japanese. I have met as many as nine ministry secretaries-generals who have gone to Japan either for the scholarship students learning in Japanese universities or Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) training,” he said.
An increasing number of Malaysians have also shown interest in taking up either full degree or half-degree courses in Japanese language offered by some local universities and the popularity is because the language represents anything when it comes to learning Japanese psyche and culture.
The ambassador said the biggest achievement in the education sector was the agreement reached between both countries for the University of Tsukuba, a leading state university that has produced three Nobel Prize winners, to establish a branch campus in Malaysia.
This is no mean feat as it will be the first ever overseas branch of a Japanese university with its scheduled opening in 2023.
The Malaysian campus will use Japanese and English as medium of instruction and students to be enrolled are scheduled to start learning Japanese next year.
Next year will also see two milestone events taking place in Malaysia-Japan relations as Oka and his embassy staff have been occupied with laying the foundation to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Malaysia’s Look East Policy initiated by the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties between both countries.
Oka will take up his new appointment in Cairo later this month, which happens to be his first overseas posting when he started his diplomatic career.
“I am returning to where I started my professional life, so in a sense this is very much I have come full circle when I go back to Cairo,” he said.