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'Rock-solid' ties benefit China, Malaysia

By XU WEIWEI in Hong Kong | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-06-13 10:04

Editor's note: China Daily presents the series Friends Afar to tell the stories of people-to-people exchanges between China and other countries. Through the vivid narration of the people in the stories, readers can get a better understanding of a country that is boosting openness.

The close and "rock-solid" relationship between Malaysia and China, forged 50 years ago, will be further enhanced in the future, said Chin Yew Sin, president of the Malaysia Strategy Research Center in Kuala Lumpur.

Chin Yew Sin

The two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2013. And last year, they announced the joint construction of a China-Malaysia community with a shared future.

"Malaysia is one of the pioneer countries in the world to implement the Belt and Road Initiative projects. This has sped up the development process of Malaysia," Chin said.

"It has also brought in FDI (foreign direct investment) from other countries into Malaysia due to the availability of better infrastructure (in the country) that has reduced the cost of transportation and, in turn, cut down the cost of doing business in Malaysia."

He also said Malaysia has bought many digital technology-based products from China, such as DJI drones, robotics and Huawei's smartphones, to improve national productivity.

Chin, a third-generation Malaysian Chinese whose grandfather hailed from Pingyuan county in Guangdong province, understands the significance of this bilateral bond.

He studied Chinese language during his primary and secondary school days in Ipoh, capital of Malaysia's northwestern Perak state.

"Later on, I self-studied after school by reading classical Chinese literature and poems," he said.

His personal engagement with China began in 1996 when he visited Beijing, his first trip to the country. During the visit, Chin was not only impressed by the many historical sites but also the country's vast culture.

"From that moment on, I became proud of my ancestral roots as Chinese (and the country's) 5,000-year-old civilization," he said.

In the next 28 years, Chin has made more than 20 trips to China, exploring all 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities and two special administrative regions.

Chin has also witnessed the different stages of China's urban development and its overall progress. He marveled at the lightning pace of China's various achievements, which can be aptly described by the saying, "Small changes in three years, big ones in five years."

In 2003, Chin was appointed as a central committee member of the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong). From 2009 to 2019, he served as Huazong's deputy secretary-general.

In his role with Huazong, Chin established frequent and close contacts with delegations from different parts of China. These visits aimed to enhance the existing friendship between overseas Chinese and the Chinese mainland, foster educational and cultural exchanges between China and Malaysia, and promote bilateral trade and investments.

As Chin often chaired the receptions of official delegations to Malaysia, he always took the opportunity to introduce Malaysia's historical background, culture, education, economy, trade and investment opportunities to those from China.

During his tenure, Huazong and its Chinese counterparts co-organized various cultural performances and forums for the Chinese community in Malaysia, with topics covering traditional Chinese medicine and China's ancient and modern art.

Recognizing the potential for economic collaboration, Chin mooted the idea of setting up a Greater Chinese Economic Circle. The initiative sought to connect people and businesses across the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao and overseas communities, fostering stronger economic ties through trade and investment.

Winning accolades

In 2013, Chin received his first business award — Outstanding Chinese Business Leader — in Beijing. He has since received more than 50 business awards and was featured in several Chinese publications.

Among his accolades, two stand out: the first recipient of the World Outstanding Chinese Lifetime Achievement Award by Peking University in 2015, and the sole recipient of the World Best Academic Award by the China Association for Promoting International Economic and Technical Cooperation in 2015, which recognized his more than 100 academic and professional qualifications.

Chin's expertise has earned him visiting professor positions at several universities and research academies in China, including Sun Yatsen University in Guangzhou, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law in Wuhan, and the Chinese Academy of Management Science in Beijing.

Looking to the future, Chin said he hopes the cordial relationship between Malaysia and China can be further enhanced through more exchanges between government officials and the people of both countries.

He also envisions that the economic cooperation between the two countries can be further strengthened through more bilateral trade and investments.

"Since Malaysia and China are comprehensive strategic partners, the future cooperation between (the two countries) should cover all, (including) education, culture, social, economic, e-commerce, digital payments, digital banking, small and medium-sized enterprises," he said.

"China's peaceful culture of respecting harmony in diversity and a community with a shared future for mankind will lay the cornerstone for bringing peace to all countries of the world, including Malaysia, in order to realize ancient China's dream of universal brotherhood."

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