LONDON - The Malaysian and British governments share a common stance that the conflicts in Egypt and Syria must end without more bloodshed, and without military interventions, as this can lead to dire consequences.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his British counterpart, Nick Clegg, expressed this stance during their hour-long bilateral meeting at Dover House, White Hall, here yesterday.
Speaking to Malaysian media after the meeting, Muhyiddin said Kuala Lumpur believed that the conflicts could be resolved peacefully.
"Malaysia believes that there are amicable solutions to the conflicts without the intervention of other parties."
The two leaders touched on bilateral ties and educational cooperation.
He said the task force formed after the visit of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak here in July was working out details to double the bilateral trade to STG8 billion (S$16 billion) by 2016, although this would be a huge challenge.
He said he also told Clegg that Kuala Lumpur wanted more British students to come to Malaysia, adding that the government hoped that the study fees for Malaysian students in the United Kingdom would not be increased.
He said there were about 15,000 Malaysian students in the UK.
Muhyiddin told Clegg assistance was needed for school teachers in Malaysia to boost their proficiency in teaching the English language.
"At present, we have an arrangement with the British Council but it is our hope that the UK government can send their teachers to teach our teachers in our schools."
With a Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition government since May 2010 under the leadership of Prime Minister David Cameron, the British Government had refocused its outlook to maintain close relations with emerging economies in East Asia, including Malaysia, he said.
The high-level exchange between Najib and Cameron had improved bilateral relations.
In the meeting, the two leaders acknowledged the need for the involvement of more investors in both countries to remain strong and substantial.
He said the UK government perceived Malaysia as a progressive, multiracial and multi-religious nation with an open economy.
Malaysia's location as the gateway to Southeast Asia and its active role in ASEAN is of significance to the UK.
He said bilateral relations between the two countries remained focused on trade, investment, defence, oil and gas, education, green technology, renewable energy and tourism.
He added that both countries shared similar views on a wide range of issues such as the global financial situation, counter terrorism and open market technology.
Both countries remained strong supporters of regionalism and closer regional integration, he said.