By Eddy Lok
OTTAWA, March 7 (Bernama) -- Malaysia-born Canadian Senator Yuen Pau Woo, the leader of a growing bloc of independent senators in the Upper House, sees a need for a long term Canadian strategy for Asia, and urged Malaysia and Canada to enhance engagement in areas such as parliamentary values, trade practices and security.
''Despite having a Pacific coast, Canada is still mostly an Atlantic-oriented North American country. As such, there is a need to reorient in other directions what with longstanding good relations with many Asian countries, including Malaysia,'' he said in an interview with Bernama.
Yuen said Canada-Asia relations were not given priority as the focus on Asian countries is transactional in nature and subject to economic consideration of the US-EU economies, rather than to build long term partnerships in Asia across economic, social, cultural, technological, and political areas.
''This is an area Canada might have fallen short as a global player. Canada and Malaysia are two resource-rich, multi-ethnic countries which share many similarities, and are highly dependent on world markets. Unfortunately, business and people-to-people ties are poorly developed. There is tremendous scope for cooperation on tourism, higher education, infrastructure development, and peace and security issues.
"Better air services and visa free access are important starting point. I am also keen on stronger contacts between our parliaments, and upgrading of the Canada-Malaysia Parliamentary Friendship Association, perhaps under the auspices of a Canada-ASEAN Inter-parliamentary group," said the Johor Baru-born.....