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  September 4th, 2023 | Written by

New York State Senator Presents Proclamation on Malaysia’s 66th National Day 

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Malaysia’s Location is of Strategic Importance for Global Trade and Shipping

A New York State Senator has issued a proclamation in honor of Malaysia’s consulate general in New York at a reception recently held at the Malaysian mission in the presence of the members of the consular corps, UN accredited diplomats and the Malaysian diaspora. 

New York State Senator John C. Liu presented the Proclamation to the Malaysian consulate general in New York on the occasion of Malaysia’s 66th National Day, with consul general Amir Farid Abu Hasan accepting it. 

The Proclamation cites, among other things, that “… Malaysia is one of the most diverse countries in the world, with different cultures assimilating from the very beginning of its history; many of these cultures have worked together to contribute to Malaysia’s uniquely diverse heritage, while vigorously maintaining their identities and customs”.  

The citation also cites the 66th National Day of Malaysia as a “special day, with glorious celebrations heralding another year of independence all over Malaysia, from Perlis to Kuala Lumpur to Sabah and Sarawak; for many Malaysians, National Day of Malaysia reflects on the unity, peace and prosperity of the country …” 

While accepting the Proclamation, consul general Amir recalled the historic moment when Malaya (as Malaysia was known then) stepped into the international arena as a free and independent nation, released from the British colonial yoke. He referred to the “proud moment in history” when Tunku Abdul Rahman (he was the country’s first prime minister and foreign minister after it gained its independence, continuing in that post when the federation of Malaysia was formed in 1963) raised the flag of independent Malaysia. 

“Malaysia has successfully evolved from an agricultural nation and moved towards further industrialization,” Amir said. 

The presence of ASEAN diplomats charged with promoting trade and investments at the event, emphasized the key role trade and economic ties play in strengthening the overall U.S.-ASEAN bilateral relations.   Malaysian Trade Commissioner in New York, Nyaee Ayup, whose office promotes trade with the U.S., said:  “I am happy about this Proclamation … it should also help profile Malaysia in trade and business circles.” 

With an increasingly receptive market for sophisticated products and services, including in technology, manufacturing, and healthcare, Malaysia remains the 19th largest trading partner of the United States, with two-way trade peaking at $ 72.9 billion in 2022. 

New York State Senator John C. Liu, in an interview with Global Trade Magazine, underscored Malaysia’s importance for New York and, indeed, for the United States.  “We look up to Malaysians and try to emulate them … they have strength and harmony in diversity,” he said. 

“We think of New York as the center of the universe, sometimes deservedly and sometimes undeservedly.  The Malaysian community reminds me about our own diversity … we can emulate them and learn from them,” Liu added unabashedly.

The composition of Malaysia’s population is characterized by a mixture of ethnic groups and their respective cultures, comprising Malay, Chinese, Indian and native groups.  The Malaysian social fabric rests on six pillars – sustainability, care, compassion, respect, innovation, prosperity and development – “which have guided the country’s destiny”, as one Malaysian community leader present at the Proclamation ceremony put it. 

Malaysia is one of the 10 member states of the Southeast Asia bloc known as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) whose economic significance and strategic location have become key factors in the Indo-Pacific calculations of successive U.S. administrations.  

The other nine ASEAN member states are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. 

Indeed, the ASEAN group of nations is clustered along the crucial trade and shipping route, the Strait of Malacca, which many experts describe as the “lifeline” of East-West sea trade. 

The Strait of Malacca is a narrow stretch of water, 500 miles long between the Malay Peninsula to the northeast and the Indonesian island of Sumatra to the southwest, connecting the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. As the main shipping channel between the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is one of the most important shipping lanes in the world. It is named after the Malaysian state of Malacca.

According to the International Transport Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Malaysia’s central location in the Asia Pacific region makes it an ideal gateway to Asia and ASEAN markets.   There are more than 40 seaports across Malaysia. Sixteen of these ports have container facilities. The largest container port in Westport, along the Straits of Malacca in Port Klang, an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.  

Air cargo facilities are well developed in the five international airports. In Peninsular Malaysia, these are the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Penang International Airport, and Langkawi International Airport. Malaysia’s modern KLIA is the nation’s largest airport, located south of Kuala Lumpur. Cargo import and export procedures are fully automated at KLIA.  

The New York State Senate’s gesture in presenting the Proclamation to Malaysia is also being seen as an acknowledgement of the “crucial importance” of the ASEAN region in the Indo-Pacific region.  Other ASEAN diplomats, preferring to remain anonymous, remarked that their group saw “huge potential for trade, business and investment” in cooperation with the United States.  They were also keen to acquire U.S. technology which could further push their countries towards modernization and greater industrialization.