‘CECA will help achieve true potential of trade relationship’

Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak. Photo: V. Ganesan   | Photo Credit: V_Ganesan

India is realising that the East is as good as the West, if not better, in some areas, and this has led to many companies turning towards Malaysia and other countries in the Association of South East Nations (ASEAN) region, Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammed Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak said here on Friday.

‘Strategic areas’

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Najib said that ASEAN+3 (including China, Japan and South Korea), ASEAN+India and ASEAN+Middle East were three “strategic areas” going into the multi-polar world of the 21st century.

The Indo-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement was signed last year and trade between India and Malaysia was growing at “breakneck speed.” But a Malaysia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), scheduled to be signed by the end of the year, would help the two countries achieve the true potential of the relationship, Mr. Najib said.

He said the high-level delegation led by him had also discussed various agreements that would foster closer ties with India in higher education, infrastructure, biosciences and other sectors.

‘Missing Indians’

On the issue of “missing Indians” — Indians who arrive in Malaysia but do not return to India at the expiry of the visa period — Mr. Razak said the immigration authorities were concerned. But this “should not deter us from reviewing visa requirements to make it easier for Indian nationals to visit Malaysia,” he said.

A more effective enforcement system that would also make visa issuance more user-friendly was being worked out, he added.


Malaysian Indians had also regained confidence in the government after the troubles in 2007 when some groups protested against government policies.

“We have instituted a lot of measures and programmes. We have given more money for education and skilled training and have helped Indians in getting microcredit loans,” Mr. Najib said.

Sister city

The proposal to make Kuala Lumpur the sister city of Chennai had been accepted by Malaysia and it was waiting for the Indian government’s nod, he said.

“Maybe when the Indian Prime Minister visits Malaysia, we will sign that,” Mr. Najib said.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 10:10:42 PM |

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