Greeting from Zulkifli Adnan, the Ambassador of Malaysia to the Federal Republic of Germany, addressing the readers of MALAYSIA INSIGHTS
Come August 2017, Malaysia will commemorate the 60th year since it became an independent nation. It will also mark 60 years since Malaysia and Germany formalized their diplomatic ties. Throughout our long history, our two countries have maintained good and stable relations, augmented by a strong sense of understanding of one another as well as shared values and principles. From Malaysia’s perspective, it certainly welcomes a strong international partner such as Germany—an always reliable partner that Malaysia shares a lot in common with.
Relations between the two countries have been, for most parts, built on the foundation of strong trade and investment links. In 2015, total trade between Malaysia and Germany amounted to €11.8 billion, which translates to an increase of 8.26% over the total trade in 2014. The figure also puts us as Germany’s 34th biggest trading partner and 7th biggest amongst Asian countries. On the other side, the healthy growth in trade puts Germany as Malaysia’s 4th biggest trading partner, and also the biggest amongst EU Member Countries.
On the investment front, German companies continue to have faith in Malaysia. More than 400 German companies are already in Malaysia, and we hope to see the figure increase in coming years. Malaysian companies, on the other hand, are also continuing to explore high-impact investment opportunities in Germany, especially in high technology and value-added sectors. One such example is the acquisition of the stakes in Lloyd Werft (a major shipbuilding company based in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern near the Baltic Sea) by the Genting Group, a Malaysian-owned private company in early 2016. Genting’s investment, valued at more than €360 million, will further invigorate and add value to the economic activities of affected cities and also help link our two regions together. Overall, the future of Malaysia-Germany bilateral relations is definitely on the bright side.
In 2015, the association declared the establishment of the “ASEAN Community 2015”. This marked a new chapter in its history, which was founded more than four decades ago. The Community is the embodiment of ASEAN Leaders’ vision to create a region of shared values and principles, where its people can live in harmony and prosperity. The declaration on the establishment of the ASEAN Community was definitely one of the highlights of Malaysia’s foreign policy, being the Chair of ASEAN in 2015.
Readers may ask, what does Germany have to do with the ASEAN Community? My answer is, there are many ways in which Germany can play an active and effective role in ASEAN. Germany’s experience in the EU provides an excellent case study for ASEAN. ASEAN wants to learn from the experiences of Germany and the EU in its GREETING from the Malaysian Ambassador to Germany www.malaysia-insights.de yearbook 2017 5 continued pursuit of growth. Likewise, I believe that there is something that Germany and the EU can learn from ASEAN’s past triumphs and setbacks.
The idea of ASEAN as a single market with free movement of goods and skilled labour is one that carries promises, and if one were to look at the growth trend in recent years, ASEAN Community is definitely an exciting prospect. The 400 over German companies in Malaysia could stand to benefit from the ASEAN’s market with its 630 million inhabitants. In addition, the implementation of the TransPacific Partnership Agreement, which Malaysia is a party to, means that German companies would have access to an even bigger market of 800 million people, which includes some parts of the larger AsiaPacific region and the Americas.
Despite the positive outlook and the encouraging prospects, there is still a lot that Malaysia-Germany relations can benefit from. I believe that bilateral ties between countries are more meaningful if they are embraced by people on the ground. Contacts at Government-toGovernment and Business-to-Business levels are certainly active and positive. Perhaps what is still a bit behind is people-to-people contact. Our people definitely need to meet and interact with one another more. Therefore, I have been encouraging the Malaysian community in Germany to be representatives of Malaysia, either individually or through the various Malaysian clubs/associations in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Munich. Every effort in projecting Malaysia’s image, no matter how little or minute they may seem, counts towards making Malaysia more visible.
As the Ambassador of Malaysia to the Federal Republic of Germany, my task is centered on protecting and promoting Malaysia’s interest and identity in Germany. This, of course, includes linking our two countries together in various fronts—political, economic, social, as well as in the fields of education and culture. My mission has not ended yet and I am continuously making efforts to further enhance MalaysiaGermany relations together with my team at the Embassy.
Last, not least, I would like to thank the editors of MALAYSIA INSIGHTS, especially Mr. Uwe Fischer, for their continuous efforts to introduce Malaysia to the German public. I will always be ready to support initiatives such as this. Dear readers, I hope this yearbook will give you plenty of new insights into the diversity of Malaysia. Happy reading!
Ambassador of Malaysia to the Federal Republic of Germany
Berlin, September 2016