Malaysia and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the Science and Technology Expertise Exchange Program as an extension of the Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Agreement signed between the two countries on October 4, 2013.

Among other things, the MoU will lead the scope of cooperation to include exchange programs of scientists and researchers, partnerships between research institutions as well as joint organization of academic programs and conferences with the involvement of international scientists and researchers, Malaysia national news agency Bernama reported on Wednesday.

Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Chang Lih Kang said in a statement that the move is in line with the New Industrial Master Plan (NIMP) 2030 which strategically focuses on economic growth towards innovation-driven industrial development and involves higher value-added activities.

“The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) as the leader of science, technology and innovation (STI) in the country has also set priority areas with high growth and high value (HGHV) especially technology-based industries such as hydrogen, artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology and space technology,” he said.

The signing of the MoU was held in conjunction with the official visit of Chinese Premier Li Qiang to Malaysia. The exchange of MoU documents between Chang and the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing was witnessed by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Li in a ceremony on Wednesday.

Through bilateral cooperation between Malaysia and China which involves enhancing capacity and expertise in various STI industries, Chang said it will contribute to the empowering a workforce of highly skilled and knowledgeable talents who are able to drive the development of high-impact strategic industries in the country.

“This special cooperation network for the exchange of expertise and research in STI is expected to provide beneficial added value to both countries besides attracting more extensive research cooperation and promoting scientific progress and stronger bilateral economic development,” said Chang.

In 2023, China remains Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years since 2009 with a trade value of MYR450.84 billion ($95.74 billion).

The exchange of MoU documents between Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Chang Lih Kang and the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing was witnessed by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Malaysia. Photo credits: Afiq Hambali/Prime Minister’s Office of Malaysia.

According to Bernama, a total of 14 memoranda of understandings, agreements (MoUs/MoAs), protocol and joint statement involving nine ministries have been exchanged between Malaysia and China on Wednesday, witnessed by Anwar and Li.

The documents were exchanged during Li’s official visit to Malaysia, which also marked his first visit to the country as premier, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China. He is in Malaysia for a three-day official visit beginning Tuesday.

Nine ministries involved are the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI); Finance; Agriculture and Food Security; Housing and Local Government; MOSTI; Higher Education (MOHE); Tourism, Arts and Culture; and Communications.

On behalf of MITI, two MoUs were exchanged, on strengthening investment cooperation in the digital economy and promoting investment cooperation in green development.

Besides the MoUs, Malaysia and China also inked the second cycle of the Malaysia-China five-year program for economic and trade cooperation to deepen further linkages between industries in priority sectors like high-level manufacturing and digital economy.

The program would also deepen cooperation in robotics, entrepreneur development, innovation and startup, as well as research and development in agriculture and primary industries.

For the Communications Ministry, two MoUs were exchanged. The first is with the China Media Group on cooperation in the field of media, while the second MoU is to strengthen cooperation in the postal field between the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and the China State Postal Bureau.

Under the Finance Ministry, the document exchanged was a joint statement on national single window for cross-border trade initiative, while under the MOHE, the MoU on cooperation in the field of higher education while under MOSTI, on science and technology people-to-people exchange program.

As for the Housing and Local Government Ministry, the MoU exchanged was for the fields of housing and urban development.

China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 15 consecutive years since 2009. Last year, total trade with China was valued at RM450.84 billion (US$98.80 billion), contributing to 17.1 percent of Malaysia’s global trade.

To recap, the diplomatic relations between the two nations was established by the Joint Communiqué signed by Malaysian Prime Minister Abdul Razak and Chinese Premier Chou En Lai on May 31, 1974.

Featured photo credits: Afiq Hambali/Prime Minister’s Office of Malaysia

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