Abe: We will help Malaysia grow

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walks past a guard of honour as he arrives for the 27th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 20, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

EXCULSIVE: PETALING JAYA - Japan has offered to provide high-value investments to Malaysia in the wake of the country's softening economy.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (pictured) told The Star in a Q&A session that Japan would offer full co-operation to Malaysia through infrastructure investment "in both quality and quantity", as well as Japan's investment promotion.

"I am confident that infrastructure-related co-operation in such areas as high-efficiency coal-fired power plants, waterworks and information and communications technology, will enable us to assist Malaysia's aspiration to achieve a high value-added economy and to realise Vision 2020," said Abe.

"I also believe that the introduction of our Shinkansen for the Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail project will serve immensely to Malaysia's economic advancement in the medium and long term."

Abe said Japan was "warmly touched and moved" when Malaysia extended support to the country during the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.

"You are really a friend in need, and hence, a friend indeed. As such, I hope further to enhance our bilateral relations," he said.

He said Malaysia was a major economy in Asia and a "growth centre of the world", adding that Japan had high expectations of Malaysia's vigorous growth.

"Japan will co-operate through various means to ensure sustainable development of Malaysia and of the rest of the region," said Abe.

On people-to-people exchanges, the Look East Policy has seen Malaysia sending no less than 15,000 students to Japan since 1982.

Abe said Japan hoped to further advance bilateral relations and co-operation with Malaysia by introducing the Second Wave of the Look East Policy (LEP 2.0).

"This will explore collaboration in prioritised new growth areas, which include advanced industrial technology, service and managerial skills," said Abe.

"Furthermore, human resource development in the engineering field through the Malaysia-Japan International Institute for Technology (MJIIT) will also be conducive to Malaysia's endeavours for Vision 2020."

Additionally, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), compiled by Japan and Malaysia together with other Pacific Rim countries, has strategic significance in sharing prosperity through establishing new economic rules in the fast-growing Asia Pacific region.

"Contribution by Japan and Malaysia together as strategic partners to the regional and global peace and prosperity should serve as the long-lasting prosperity of our two nations and peoples," said Abe.

"Our two countries will be advanced by sharing fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, as well as contributing as strategic partners to the region and the international community through pursuing our common benefits, namely to ensure regional and global peace and prosperity."

However, Abe said regional security was "now gravely in danger" due to the "unilateral attempts to change the status quo" through land reclamation and construction of outposts in the South China Sea.

"Japan will lend its support to ASEAN member countries in a seamless manner to strengthen the region's capability of preserving the free, open, peaceful ocean," said Abe.

He said Japan planned to contribute further to regional and global peace, stability and prosperity according to the recently enacted legislation for peace and security, which is based on the principle of international co-operation.

"Moreover, Japan will further enhance ties with ASEAN in the so-called unconventional security fields, such as peace-building measures, counter-terrorism measures, including those to address violent extremism, as well as countermeasures against transnational crimes, such as piracy and armed robbery."