Thu. May 23rd, 2024

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I n s p I r a s I p e r c u t I a n k u

Towards Strengthening Malaysia-Japan Cooperation & Friendship

4 min read


Look East Policy (LEP) was first unveiled in 1982 by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, making it forty years old in 2022. During the past four decades, the LEP has played a significant role in the development of relations between Japan and Malaysia, with the development of bilateral relations, particularly economic cooperation, gaining momentum. Malaysia has sent students to Japanese universities and institutes of technology, as well as trainees to Japanese enterprises and training institutes, to further their education and training.

Both the governments of Malaysia and Japan have contributed to these projects, with the latter sending Japanese teachers to Malaysia as part of its funding. The government of Malaysia estimates that roughly 15,000 Malaysians (approximately 14,000 according to a Japanese source) have travelled to Japan over a thirty-year period, either to enroll in specialised courses of higher education or to acquire industry and business training. Aside from that, the Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT), which was created in Malaysia in 2011, provides Malaysian students with the opportunity to study about Japanese technology from Japanese experts. The relationship between Japan and Malaysia has a long and illustrious tradition.

They state that “ … bilateral relations between Japan and Malaysia can be classified as ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’ in times of happiness and hardship …

“ …. Malaysia identified what we believed to be the factors that contributed to Japan’s success. They are patriotism, discipline, good work ethics, a competent management system, and close cooperation between the government and the private sector. And so, we tried to adopt these practices and instill these cultures in our people. And everyone now acknowledges that Malaysia has made better progress than most other developing countries. The fastest pace of Malaysia’s progress and development took place in the last two decades coinciding with Malaysia’s LEP.”

The former Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, proposed the addition of a new and upgraded component to the LEP 2.0 plan in order to maintain positive Japan-Malaysia relations.

The Alumni of Friendship Programme for the 21st Century ASEAN-Japan Malaysia (PAMAJA), is one of the associations associated with Japan and a part of ASEAN-Japan Friendship Association for the 21st Century (AJAFA-21) member.

Over the past 4 decades PAMAJA has conducted many programmes towards strengthening Malaysia-Japan cooperation and friendship. Among them are Youth Friendship Program (YFP), Japanese Culture Day, Japanese Culture Day Seminar, visit Japan, receiving visits from Japanese friends to Malaysia and hosting Japanese youth exchange programmes to Malaysia.

PAMAJA organized this Majlis Dialog 40th Anniversary Look East Policy to hear some ideas, as well as to gather as much input, knowledge, and feedback as possible about the remarkable historical milestone of Malaysia and Japan’s 40th anniversary of the Look East Policy (LEP). On behalf of PAMAJA, I would like to express our gratitude to Perbadanan Kemajuan Kraftangan Malaysia for assisting us in putting together this significant event in this stunning location, as well as to all panellists, media, and guests who attended today’s event.

PAMAJA, as one of the alumni of LEP’s programme is dedicated to plan and implement a number of events related to the LEP40. Among the forthcoming events are a booth exhibition, a webinar, a symposium, Visit Malaysia and Visit Japan, as well as other tourism and cultural exchange activities in collaboration with Embassy of Japan in Malaysia, JICA Malaysia, MOTAC, Tourism Malaysia, Homestay Malaysia Association, Japan National Tourism Organization, Japan Travel Bureau, The Japan Foundation, Japanese companies and communities, and other related agencies.

PAMAJA is keen to raise public awareness of “Keluarga Malaysia” about the implementation and successful outcomes of the Malaysia-Japan partnership network. It is consistent with PAMAJA’s objective of instilling better human values and instilling a sense of patriotism through various activities, as well as assisting related agencies, youth and social organizations locally and abroad through related activities that contribute to the country’s development. These goals are consistent with the Look East Policy. The 40th Anniversary of the Look East Policy should be celebrated in a significant way, and this policy, as well as the partnership between Malaysia and Japan should continue indefinitely.

According to Mr Nakao Tadayori , First Secretary, Embassy of Japan, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Look East Policy. Japan and Malaysia have been enjoying excellent bilateral relations, thanks to the long running Look East Policy which was launched in 1982. The Look East Policy has provided opportunities to enhance our close bilateral relationship, not only through training programs, but also through grass-root interactions and cultural exchanges among people.

“I am convinced that this relationship will continue to grow for many years to come, and I look forward to discussions with our Malaysian friends on ways to enhance this relationship for our future generations in Japan and Malaysia. My sincere thanks to PAMAJA for organizing today’s dialogue to exchange and share ideas and knowledge among experts from Japan and Malaysia to further reinforce cultural interactions and tourism between both our countries. The Embassy of Japan is pleased to cooperate with various parties and support every activity including events such as today’s, which will enhance the awareness of the significance of the Look East Policy and deepen our friendship,” said Mr Nakao Tadayori.

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