Burma-Malaysian Ties Boost as Two Leaders Meet
29 March 2012, KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia and Burma relationship is bouncing as both agreed to elevate the bilateral trade and investment, a sign that Malaysia is pleased with the reform taking place in the former military-ruled country.
“Both leaders agreed to explore the possibilities of expanding cooperation in Myanmar in the fields of plantation, agriculture, energy, construction, manufacturing, telecommunications, tourism and hospitality in which Malaysia has the expertise.”
“The two leaders expressed satisfaction with the close cooperation between the two countries in the areas of labor and human resources,” said a joint statement by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Burma’s President Thein Sein.
Najib has reached Burma’s capital city, Naypyidaw, for a two-day official visit along with a large delegation of Cabinet members and businessmen.
During the visit, Malaysian Human Resource Minister, Datuk Dr. S. Subramaniam said that Malaysia will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Burma to bring in maids from the country.
Malaysians are employing large numbers of maids from Indonesia, Cambodia and Philippines. Indonesian government, however, temporarily stopped providing maids to Malaysia due to cases of maid abuse.
Large numbers of Burmese nationals estimated at nearly 260,000 are working in plantations, factories and restaurants in Malaysia.
As United States and European Union have eased sanction on Burma, Malaysian government is urging its businessmen to explore opportunities in the resource-rich country.
Local newspapers’ columnists see Burma which is strategically located between China and India offer abundance business opportunities following its government’s move to introduce political reforms as well as new trade and investment laws.
“The opening up of Burma is similar to economic reforms in Vietnam, it will impact the whole region of Southeast Asia,” said a columnist of a Chinese language newspaper.
Malaysia is the seventh largest investor in Burma with a total investment of approaching US$1 billion in oil, properties, hotel and manufacturing as of December last year.
Reporting by Thomas Chong