H.E Vicki Treadell echoes the Brexit speech by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, and explains what it means to the UK-Malaysia relationship.
The UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech today reinforced our government’s commitment to emerge from this period of change stronger and more outward-looking than ever before. She set out a vision where the UK will remain a reliable partner, ally and close friend of the European Union. We are therefore determined to pursue a new, positive and constructive partnership with the European Union. We will do so with purpose and clarity.
The UK is an outward-looking country but we will be yet more engaged globally given the opportunities that will open once we leave the EU. For our friends and partners in Malaysia, I can assure you that a Global Britain will seek to build on our historic ties as well as deepen and broaden our bilateral relationship across a range of fronts. We have already embarked on this agenda. Since the historic EU referendum in June 2016, we have seen two British Royal visits and three UK ministerial visits to Malaysia. The Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi met the UK Prime Minister Theresa May in New York in the margins of UNGA; and met the UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd when he was in London. We have seen the world renown Red Arrows showcase the best of Britain over KL’s skies and celebrated our Educational links through our Great Britain Festival in November. This is not a Britain turning inward. This is an outward looking activist Britain taking our relationship with Malaysia to new levels in the mutual interests of our two countries.
In the coming year and beyond, you will see this level of engagement continue. You will see our digital economy partnership with Malaysia flourish and other new initiatives unfold. With Britain hosting the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2018 and Malaysia the one after that, we have a unique opportunity to work together across two CHOGMs on issues like trade, countering extremism and supporting emerging Commonwealth nations towards their development goals. We will work with Malaysia on security and defence and we will develop our trade and investment relationship further towards the prospect of securing a Free Trade Agreement when the time is right for us to do so. But we seek to engage across Malaysian society too, with youth, on women’s and children’s rights and with civil society across these agendas. This is a new era of opportunity and we will seize it.