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Fresh eyes on Look East Policy


SECOND WAVE: Policy to be tailored to suit economic transformation, say  Najib and Abe

PUTRAJAYA: MALAYSIA and Japan will continue the Look East Policy under the  second wave, which will be adjusted to suit the economic structure and  priorities of both countries.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who received a visit from his  Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, yesterday, said the policy should be more  progressive, with better focus and be more economy-oriented.

“We have agreed that after 30 years of successful collaboration, the next  phase needs to be tailored for the economic transformation of both  countries.”

Najib said both governments had pledged to encourage more partnerships  between Malaysian and Japanese companies in various fields, including green  technology, key technical services and institutional support.

“Therefore, we encourage both sides to develop more targeted programmes with  specific outcomes to attain our countries’ objectives through investments,  trade, Islamic finance,  technology, infrastructure development and  promotion of the halal industry.

“We welcome Abe’s interest in Malaysia and we will continue with our  investment-friendly policies to further stimulate private sector cooperation,”  said Najib at a joint press conference in conjunction with the official visit of  the Japanese prime minister. This is Abe’s second visit to Malaysia.

Earlier, Najib and Abe witnessed the signing of two memoranda of  understanding between 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and Japan Bank of  International Cooperation (JBIC) and another one between 1MDB and Toshiba  Corp.

In the first MoU, the cooperation will open opportunities for both countries  to benefit from Samurai bonds under the Guarantees Acquisition towards Tokyo  market enhancement facilities, which will be the first bond to be issued by a  Malaysian company with JBIC’s guarantee.

The second MoU will cover two phases, which will create opportunities for  1MDB to expand further into medical tourism, one of its key sectors, and  potentially lead to the setting up of the first carbon ion radiotherapy centre  in Southeast Asia.

On financial cooperation, Najib said both nations welcomed efforts to  initiate discussions regarding the renewal of the bilateral swap agreement.

“We hope for more involvement from Japanese business players to engage in  Islamic finance-related activities with Malaysia and we will offer the technical  assistance.”

Najib said Malaysia welcomed collaborations between the private sectors of  the two countries in various infrastructure projects in Malaysia, including  green technology, water treatment and high-speed rail.

Tourism and youth exchanges were other aspects that both nations could  explore further, Najib said, and he was upbeat with what had been done so far  and invited Japanese retirees to consider taking part in the “Malaysia: My  Second Home” programme.

Najib said more efforts would be made to check piracy and ensure safe  passage for ships using the Straits of Malacca.

Abe said he shared the same views with Najib to improve ties between Japan  and Malaysia. He said Japan would work closely with Malaysia, including  supporting Malaysia’s growth using Japanese high-technology know-how, including  in high-speed rail. Japan, he added, would continue its cooperation with the  Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency to enhance effectiveness in addressing  security issues.

Earlier, Abe was accorded an official welcome at Bangunan Perdana Putra here  in conjunction with his two-day visit. He was greeted by Najib, Deputy Prime  Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr  Ali Hamsa and other ministers.

Abe and Najib then held a closed-door meeting to discuss bilateral, regional  and international issues.

Najib also hosted Abe to an official dinner at Seri Perdana last night.

In a briefing to the media yesterday, the Japanese Foreign  Affairs  Ministry International Press Division’s Assistant  Press Secretary Director  Masaru Sato said the meeting  between Najib and Abe involved a host of  issues on bilateral  collaboration.

Among issues discussed were Japan’s efforts to introduce   Carbon-Ion therapy for treatment of cancer in local hospitals,  making  Malaysia one of the first countries outside Japan to  use the  ground-breaking technology for curing the terminal  illness.

The Japanese defence agencies are also collaborating with  the  Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency to provide  training to local  enforcers on safety aspects concerning the  seafaring operations.

Sato said the safety training, which began at the coast  guard  academy in Gebeng, Kuantan yesterday, was part of  the Japanese  government’s effort in promoting security  within the region and  strengthening its educational training  capacity .

“This includes the South China Sea and the Malacca  Straits,  which are prime routes for the transportation of  crude oil to Japan,” he  said.

On territorial disputes involving the South China Sea, Sato   said Abe expressed the importance of all countries involved  to abide the  international law.

He said Abe’s visit was also focussed on revitalising Japan’s   economy.

Najib was also said to have expressed concern about North   Korea, to which Abe had emphasised Japan’s stance on  holding a series of  dialogues with their military-oriented  neighbours on denuclearisation.

Sato said the Foreign Affairs Ministry was also in the midst   hosting the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Stu dents and Youth (JENESYS  2.0).

The student exchange programme, which involved some  30,000  participants from ASEAN countries, will bring some  900 Malaysian students  into Japanese homes to experience  Japanese cultural enrichment by next  year


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