Malaysia National Day
12 September 2018
Mr. Mohamad Nizan Mohamad, High Commissioner of Malaysia to South Africa commemorated the National Day of Malaysia on 31 August 2018 and Malaysia Day on 16 September 2018. He is pictured with Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa, Deputy Minister of Labour.
The story of Malaysia is colourful with its humble beginnings as a poor developing country with a low-income agricultural-based economy after achieving independence. Through its attained sovereign and freedom to chart its own course in its own mould, today, Malaysia has grown into a leading developing country. Its rapid development was spearheaded by good governance of the government of the day in nurturing growth while balancing social stability. Today, Malaysia is a proud nation with a population of 33 million people comprises of various ethnicities and cultures, said High Commissioner Mohamad.
Remarks by H.E. Mr. Mohamad Nizan Mohamad
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome all of you, Selamat Datang to the reception to commemorate the National Day of Malaysia on 31 August 2018 and Malaysia Day on 16 September 2018.
We are very appreciative and thankful to all of our guests, - Our Guest of Honour, Hon’ble Nkosi, Deputy Minister of Labour, the government officials, colleagues from the diplomatic corps, the business community, Malaysian, friends of Malaysia and media representatives - for being able to join us this afternoon.
The story of Malaysia is colourful indeed with its humble beginning as a poor developing country with a low-income agricultural-based economy after achieving independence. Through its attained sovereign and freedom to chart its own course in its own mould, today, Malaysia has grown into what it is today as a leading developing country. Its rapid development was spearheaded by good governance of the government of the day in nurturing growth while balancing social stability. Today, Malaysia is a proud nation with a population of 33 million people comprises of various ethnicities and cultures. Though despite its multi-racial composition, Malaysia enjoys relative peace and tolerance.
Since independence in 1957, we have gone through many developmental phases in becoming of what we are today. One of it was the 1998 financial crisis that has taught Malaysia to be more prudent that have pushed us to emerge as one of the successful stories in Asia.
Distinguished Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On 9th May this year, the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has again taken the helm of the country, to be the seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia at the age of 93 years, currently the oldest democratically elected Prime Minister in the world. The new coalition, Pakatan Harapan or Coalition of Hope led by Dr. Mahathir has emerged victory during the 14th general election in May this year by defeating the then ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional or National Front for the first time in history of Malaysia since its independence. Many were shocked while many others are grateful with the new change, which people famously described as “the new Malaysia.”
Historically, Malaysia has been very supportive of South Africa, especially during the post-apartheid era. Malaysia was one of the early nations to establish its diplomatic relations with South Africa. Malaysia officially opened its diplomatic mission in Pretoria in 1993, when Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was then the fourth Prime Minister. He then focused Malaysia foreign policy of South-South cooperation that saw Malaysia became one of the biggest investors in South Africa in the early 1990s. The relationship between the late President Nelson Mandela and Dr. Mahathir was very cordial and they became close friends. As a result, many Malaysian companies participated in the process of developing the new South Africa after its first democratic election then.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
The year 2018 marks an important occasion for both Malaysia and South Africa to celebrate our 25th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations in conjunction with the centennial celebration of the late former President Nelson Mandela.
Recent bilateral trade between Malaysia and South Africa in 2017 amounted to US$1.46 billion, with the balance of trade of US$ 88 million in Malaysia’s favour. Malaysia’s exports to South Africa amounted to US$776 million in 2017 while Malaysia’s import from South Africa were registered at US$688 million. Among the African countries, South Africa was Malaysia’s largest trading partner and largest import source. Malaysia main exports items to South Africa are mainly electrical products, palm oil, refined petroleum products, chemicals and chemical products and rubber products while imports items from South Africa comprised of iron and steel products, other mining products, agriculture products, manufactured metals as well as chemicals and chemical products.
To-date, Malaysia and South Africa have signed eleven (11) bilateral agreements/MoUs which among others are air services agreement, trade agreement, MoU on science and technology cooperation and MoU on defense cooperation. On tourism, South Africa is considered a potential market for Malaysia’s tourism industry as 20,053 South Africa tourists visited SA in 2016.
Malaysia looks forward for a more close collaboration on new initiatives with South Africa to strengthen the existing bilateral and economic relations including on the possibility of establishing a free trade agreement or a preferential trade agreement that could serve as a launching board to rejuvenate relations between Malaysia and South Africa and Africa Continent as a whole.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Once again, thank you for your attendance and to celebrate with us on this auspicious celebration of Malaysia’s Independence Day and Malaysia Day this year.
On that note, Hon’ble Deputy Minister, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to kindly invite all of you to please join me in a toast to Malaysia – South Africa brotherly relations, to the President, to the Government and the people of the Republic of South Africa. We wish them continued wellbeing, peace and prosperity.
“To the wellbeing, peace and prosperity of our two countries”