Address by Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Menteri Besar of Selangor at the Southeast Asia Halal & Cross Border E-Commerce Selangor – Taiwan, New Southbound Policy Forum in Taipei on 28TH April 2017

Ladies and gentlemen.

Da jia chow an hao (Good morning to all of you)

First and foremost, let me congratulate the Government of the Republic of China under President Tsai Ing-wen for this significant initiative known as the New Southbound Policy.

Taiwan’s initiative to enhance cooperation and trade partnerships, exchanges and regional connections with the countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia is certainly a positive move and should be welcomed.

In the context of Malaysia, such a move has even greater significance because our two nations already have a long history of close ties in the matters of economy, trade and education.

As Taiwan is one of the five largest foreign investors in Malaysia, with most investments directed to the State of Selangor, I can foresee that the New Southbound Policy will lead to even greater enhancement not just of foreign investment but in all the essential aspects of relations.

With education being one of the top priorities of the New Southbound Policy, we see vast potential in extending and intensifying areas of cooperation in this area.

Of the two Taipei Schools in Malaysia, one is located in Selangor. More than 70,000 Malaysians have already graduated from Taiwanese universities while another 15,000 are currently studying here.

If I may suggest, as part of your educational initiative under the New Southbound Policy, Taiwan should consider sending over some of your graduates to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) degree in our homegrown Selangor Business School.

We can also work towards greater exchanges and mutual engagement in research and technical advancement between our universities and educational institutions. In particular, we should explore how best to cooperate in the area of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

With business schools and TVET cooperation and attention on Small and Medium Enterprises, we can work towards enhancement of both technical and business skills, which I believe is one of your priorities in this new initiative.

With regard to innovation and technology, Selangor can leverage on Taiwan’s strengths especially in the areas of Smart City technology, Startup support, and e-Commerce. Selangor also stands as the first state in Malaysia to establish its “Smart State” agenda, with the aim of accelerating the adoption of information technology to enhance the quality of life of our citizens.

On our part, as a gateway to the Southeast Asian market, Selangor can offer tremendous opportunities for the Taiwanese business community. Selangor is strategically positioned with both major airports located in the state. We can reach any major city in Southeast Asia within a 2-hour flight.

With a diverse cultural background and a high level of competency in a variety of languages, Selangorians are ideally suited to help our Taiwanese friends interact with the Southeast Asian community. By forging closer ties, a symbiotic relationship can be created, forming a win-win situation for mutual progress and prosperity.

Selangorians can offer insights and advice on expanding businesses in Southeast Asia, India, as well as the Middle East, through the Halal market, which is expected to exceed US$ 3.7 trillion by 2019.

Our newly launched Halal International Selangor (HIS) is a key initiative to promote Global Halalan Thoyyiban Trade and Industry (GHTTI) that is based on trustworthy, integrity, security and assurance. HIS will work closely with local certification bodies, such as the Taiwan Halal Integrity Development Association (THIDA). Our Halal Technical Competent Persons (HTCPs) Program, as well as the Halal Repository and E-Commerce Platform (HIREC) will provide the necessary knowledge and understanding of the Halal ecosystem. We are confident that this collaboration will facilitate the expansion and entry into new markets for the Taiwan Halal industry.

Several Taiwanese cities and local governments such as Taipei, Kaohsiung, Tainan and Yun Lin, have signed MoUs with the Selangor State Government, especially in the Smart City and Halal sectors where much interest has been expressed.

In E-Commerce, which is expected to grow to a US$200 billion market in Southeast Asia by 2025, Selangor has been organizing cross-border E-Commerce business forums in Taiwan.

We believe the time is ripe for Taiwanese companies to further invest in Selangor and pursue long-term partnerships with Selangor entrepreneurs so that we can enjoy the fruits of mutual cooperation, respect, and understanding for the coming decades together.

Another major area that must be enhanced is tourism. Let me take this occasion to renew the call for more Taiwanese to come to Selangor. Selangor has much to offer in terms of eco-tourism, health and sports tourism. Our culinary offering and delights are also well-known. Above all, come and experience the warmth and hospitality of Selangorians.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I believe, the South China Sea disputes must be resolved only through peaceful means and all parties must exercise self-restraint.

There must be multi-lateral engagement to resolve all outstanding issues.

I believe the continued prosperity of the region can only be achieved within the framework of peace and stability. ASEAN, evolving from the fundamental concept of ZOPFAN – a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality – is now a major player economically and politically in the region where free trade is a hall mark. ASEAN has a population of 625 million and a GDP of US2.8 trillion.

Amidst these developments we witness a paradigm shift in the balance of global economic power which is incrementally gravitating towards Asia with significant contribution coming from ASEAN.

In light of this, the New Southbound Policy of Taiwan should not be seen merely as trade and business expansion but also as one of the multiple factors that will have long term strategic implications for the region.

We are confident that all efforts towards peaceful cooperation in economic, trade and cultural matters will be positive and good for the continued peace and prosperity of the region.

In ending, I would like to stress that Selangor always regards Taiwan as a strong partner in trade and commerce. I am confident that, going forward, our ties will be even firmer and stronger.

Thank you.