I took over as British High Commissioner to Malaysia on 21 October 2014 after four amazing years as British High Commissioner to New Zealand. Before that I had enjoyed four frenetic and fascinating years as British Deputy High Commissioner heading the Western India team based in Mumbai.
In India I had a business focussed brief as you would expect in India’s commercial and financial capital. The daily cut and thrust of the corporate world with the occasional challenge of a major terrorist incident defined my time in India. I am particularly proud of the work we did to look after British people caught up in the July 2006 and November 2008 terrorist attacks and the support we gave the Indian authorities in tackling these atrocities. Equally in securing Indian investment into the UK, not least Tata Motors acquisition of Jaguar Landrover that secured British manufacturing interests and jobs.
The challenges and opportunities in New Zealand were different but the job no less interesting. I relished the opportunity to refresh and re-energise the UK/New Zealand relationship. But there was crisis too to respond to with the Christchurch earthquake where, once more, being on the ground to look after our people was the first priority as well as securing targeted support to help the New Zealand authorities deal with the disaster and its consequences.
If we look at the world in the new global context, where the poles of economic and political power are shifting and being redefined, Malaysia is at the heart of ASEAN and the Asia Pacific region, the centre of economic gravity for this century. Our relationship with Malaysia has never been more important and it is essential that we set it in a more modern and relevant context. Our strategic engagement whether on the global opportunity of Islamic Finance, feeding the demand for education, creating jobs and wealth for our people or in working together to encourage moderation and tolerance within and across communities offers real opportunities. In a fast changing world we must hold onto our shared history and the values at the heart of it. We must celebrate our people to people links. We need to build on this, to see how we can reinforce this through dialogue, genuine engagement and deepening further our trade and investment relationship. We have strong foundations on which to further develop our relationship, a relationship that matters, one that holds true value and mutual benefit as our nations advance in the 21st century.
Given my own Malaysian roots, my personal heritage having been born in Ipoh, I’d like to think that I’m not just representative of modern multicultural Britain but that I also have great local credentials in terms of understanding Malaysia, its culture, its diversity and its people. I see my career choices to date as having prepared me for this role. There is a blend in my earlier career of policy and service delivery work; my more recent political government-to-government engagement in New Zealand; with my commercial track record, even before Mumbai, when I spent four incredible years as UK Trade & Investment’s Director for the North West of England covering Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester & Merseyside and Cheshire with responsibility for driving trade and investment as a key pillar of regional economic development. All this has equipped me well for the challenge ahead.
So, here I am and I want to work with Malaysian partners, in the spirit of friendship and shared interest, to make a difference.
British High Commissioner to Malaysia
The High Commissioner is the UK government’s representative in a Commonwealth nation. They are responsible for the direction and work of the High Commission and its Deputy High Commissions and/or Consulates, including political work, trade and investment, press and cultural relations, and visa and consular services.
Previous roles in government
British High Commissioner to New Zealand
- 2010 to 2014