In conjunction with the 55th Anniversary of the National Day of Malaysia, I wish to convey my greetings and best wishes to all Malaysians and to all our colleagues and friends in Cambodia. The theme for this year’s National Day is “55 Years of Independence: Promises Fulfilled” (55 TahunMerdeka: JanjiDitepati).
On this very special day, I would like to ask all my fellow Malaysians to reflect back and remember our forefathers and those who had sacrificed so much to lay the foundation of our great nation. The foresight of our leaders who had forged tolerance, understanding, and trust amongst the diverse racial and ethnic groupings, with its multitude of cultures and religious beliefs, has led to a united, harmonious and peaceful society that embraces moderation as a way of life. The vision of our leaders who had introduced development and relevant economic strategies, has also ensured that Malaysian enjoy better prosperity, education and medical and health care, living in a peaceful, safe and secure environment.
Under the present government, led by our Honourable Prime Minister, YAB Dato’Sri Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak, the ‘I Malaysia’ concept was introduced, which is an ongoing nation building programme to emphasise ethnic harmony, national unity and efficient governance. Various reforms and transformation programs were also introduced, amongst them, the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) which is to rejuvenate a smooth, efficient and clean government, and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) that would contribute to the growth of Malaysia, and to achieve Malaysia’s vision to be a fully developed nation by 2020.
Since the introduction of the various transformation programs in 2010 Malaysia has increased its per capita income, from US$6,700 to $9,700 in 2011 which is on target to achieve its targetted per capita income of $15,000by the year 2020. In terms of investment, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has increased by 12.3 per cent to RM 33 billion (slightly more than US$ 10 billion), whilst private investment increased by 19 per cent to RM 94 billion (about $30 billion) in 2011, compared to the previous year.
The reforms and transformation programmes have also contributed to Malaysia being recognized as one of the 21 most competitive countries globally in 2012 by the World Economic Forum Report. The World Bank has also recognized and ranked Malaysia as the 18th country in terms of ease of starting and doing business, ahead of countries like Germany, Japan, Taiwan and France.
As Malaysians, are all very proud of our achievements since independence, with our country enjoying continued peace and stability and its multi ethnic population living harmoniously in unity, enjoying increasing prosperity, better health and education, whilst the country is now recognized as an important member of the global community.
Malaysia is also enjoying strong and friendly relations with Cambodia. Malaysia has been one of the earliest investors in Cambodia and has invested more than $2.8 billion since the early 1990s and is now the 4th largest investor in Cambodia. It is now represented very prominently in many sectors, including banking, hotel, telecom, utilities and manufacturing. Our bilateral trade has grown to $324 million in 2011 compared to $229 million in 2010. Significantly, Cambodia’s exports to Malaysia increased by 95.5 per cent in 2011, compared to 2010. This trend is expected to continue to grow this year. In terms of visitors, about 100,000 Malaysians visited Cambodia in 2011, compared to 84,000 in 2010. Cambodians visiting Malaysia also increased from 48,000 in 2010 to about 50,000 to 2011.
The contribution of Malaysian businesses to the Cambodian economy has been well recognized by the Cambodian government. The increase in bilateral trade, investment and people-to-people contact, between Malaysia and Cambodia, both members of ASEAN, augurs well for the success of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which will come into being in 2015. In this regard, we wish to congratulate Cambodia for its Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2012 and playing a very significant role in moving forward the realization of this grand vision. Interestingly, Malaysia will take over the Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2015. It is the hope of the Malaysian government that Malaysian investors and Malaysians working in Cambodia will continue to contribute to the development and economic progress of this dynamic country, and to assist in enhancing the excellent relations between Malaysia and Cambodia.
On this very auspicious occasion, I take this opportunity to thank the Royal Government of Cambodia, for the assistance and cooperation rendered to the Embassy of Malaysia, and to wish the Government and the people of the Kingdom of Cambodia Great Success, Peace and Prosperity.