The relationship between Malaysia and Australia stretches back to a period before Malaysian independence, in fact the two countries will celebrate 60 years of diplomatic ties next year, the economically the relationship reached new heights with the signing of the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) in Kuala Lumpur on 22 May 2012. Recently, Australia stood shoulder to shoulder with Malaysia during the recent MH370 tragedy and both nations shared in the grief of the MH17 tragedy.
This is just some of the context in which the upcoming visit by Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s is set, the business community from both sides will be looking for increased market access that improved political relationship brings. Malaysia is Australia’s 9th largest trading partner, with two-way trade worth $18.2 billion in the 2013 calendar year, Malaysia would like to position itself as Australia’s spring board into the ASEAN market while Australia gets the lion’s share of Malaysian overseas education spending.
The Australian Expatriate community too are looking forward to seeing the outcome of this important visit, the Malaysia Australian Business Council which has long been the key bridge between the two countries have seen a “significant rise in memberships” in recent weeks, likewise the local media has also picked up interest .
Looking forward, both countries will need to develop a strategies to move forward in the “Asian Century” as issues of economic uncertainty and the need to diversify trading partners becomes more important for a sustainable future.