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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob wants new areas of cooperation related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives to be explored by Malaysia and Japan through projects and programmes implemented under the Look East Policy.
He said this included diversifying cooperation in the field of disaster crisis, ageing society, digital economy, Science, Technology and Innovation as well as green growth.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risk Report 2022 relating to issues such as climate change, the social impact of an ageing population and social polarisation after the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to have a serious impact on the economy and livelihood of most countries within the next 10 years, he said in his speech at the opening of the Business Seminar to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Look East Policy here today.
The text of the Prime Minister's speech was read out by Senior International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Implementation of the Look East Policy, he said, also focused on the balanced flow of benefits to Malaysia and Japan, including through Malaysia's ability to increase cooperation in the development of the halal industry with Japan.
"Malaysia as a pioneer in the global halal industry can certainly help Japan which is very keen to develop its halal industry," he said.
Based on the long trade ties that had been forged between Malaysia and Japan, the prime minister suggested the two countries to explore cooperation to address issues related to supply chain through the Look East Policy platform.
He said the success of the cooperation between Malaysia and Japan which had spanned more than four decades was now more focused on new fields in line with the technological revolution that had changed the industrial and global economic landscape.
"Cooperation in fields such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, autonomous systems, and the Internet of Things (IoT) in which Japan has a high level of expertise, needs to be improved," he said, adding that this would guarantee the sustainability of the Look East Policy for years to come.
Therefore, he hoped that the Japanese government would also provide continuous support to encourage more cooperation in the field concerned through the implementation of joint venture projects under the Look East Policy.
Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri expressed his appreciation to the Japanese government as well as the Malaysian-Japanese business community for contributing to the economic recovery, especially in the first quarter of this year.
“This year is very special for bilateral relations between Malaysia and Japan because it marks the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations, and the 40th anniversary of the Look East Policy,” he said, adding that the Malaysian government introduced the policy in 1982 as a transition from Western-oriented modernisation to emulating Eastern values, especially from Japan.
The Prime Minister said the Look East Policy had contributed a lot to human capital development, sharing of expertise and technology transfer, especially in the manufacturing and industrial sector in Malaysia.
He said he was proud that the Malaysia-Japan economic relationship was manifested through an encouraging increase in bilateral trade volume since the Look. East Policy was introduced.
"Japan is now the fourth largest trading partner and one of the main sources of foreign investment for Malaysia," he added.
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