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COMMENT: Celebrating Malaysia Day: Strengthening ties with EU

0 month ago, 16-Sep-2023

Malaysias ability to embrace and celebrate its diversity is a source of inspiration for many, including the EU, as we work to foster unity within our own multicultural continent. Michalis Rokas

AS we gather to commemorate Malaysia Day, it is not only a time for Malaysians to celebrate their nations unity and diversity, but also an occasion for the European Union (EU) to reaffirm its strong and enduring partnership with this vibrant and dynamic country.

This day holds a special place in the hearts of Malaysians, as it marks the formation of Malaysia through the merger of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore on Sept 16, 1963.

Therefore, I would like to warmly congratulate all Malaysians for this momentous 60th anniversary, which is a very special day especially for Sabahans and Sarawakians.

Malaysia has come a long way since its inception, achieving remarkable progress in various fields, from economic development to cultural diversity.

The nations rich tapestry of cultures, languages, and traditions is a testament to the harmonious coexistence of different ethnicities and religions. Malaysias ability to embrace and celebrate its diversity is a source of inspiration for many, including the EU, as we work to foster unity within our own multicultural continent.

The EU and Malaysia share a strong bond built on mutual respect, cooperation, and shared values. Over the years, our partnership has grown, expanding into various sectors, including trade, education, and culture.

Both Malaysia and the EU are committed to upholding the principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, values that form the foundation of our cooperation.

In the economic sphere, Malaysia has long been an important trading partner for the EU.

Our economic ties have continued to strengthen, as evidenced by a significant growth in trade figures in the context of the economic recovery after the pandemic.

Even more important are recent investment decisions, with European companies creating highly qualified jobs for Malaysians.

We are highly optimistic that a possible EU-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) could lead to significant benefits to both Malaysian and European businesses, once the negotiations resume and will be concluded.

Malaysias commitment to sustainable development aligns with the EUs values of environmental protection and climate action. As the world faces pressing challenges related to climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation, the EU and Malaysia can work together to address these issues and create a more sustainable future.

On the cultural front, our partnership continues to thrive through exchanges, education programs, and people-to-people connections. These initiatives have deepened our understanding of each others cultures and traditions, fostering a sense of shared identity and belonging.

As we celebrate Malaysia Day, let us not only reflect on the achievements of this remarkable nation but also look ahead to the opportunities that lie before us. The EU remains committed to strengthening its ties with Malaysia and supporting its development journey.

Together, we can face global challenges, promote peace and stability, and build a better future for our citizens.

In conclusion, Malaysia Day is a reminder of the power of unity in diversity and the importance of strong partnerships.

As the EU Ambassador to Malaysia, I extend my warmest wishes to the people of Malaysia on this special day.

May our friendship continue to flourish, and may the bonds between Malaysia and the EU grow even stronger in the years to come.

*Michalis Rokas is the Ambassador of the European Union to Malaysia