PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and Sri Lanka have agreed to strengthen collaboration in monitoring the waters between the two countries.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had said this was among the topics discussed when she received a courtesy call from the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Tilak Marapana on Monday in Parliament.
“The government is concerned about the security of our water ways. We are striving for pirate-free waters for the safety of our traders. Our focus is in keeping peace and in keeping our traders safe,” said Dr Wan Azizah.
Tilak said Sri Lanka is particularly interested in the Indian Ocean, especially on issues of security and movements of ships.
The Sri Lankan minister also took the opportunity to congratulate Dr Wan Azizah on Pakatan Harapan’s win in the recent general elections and on her appointment as the first female Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia.
“It is rare for a Malay woman to come out and battle so strongly against many odds and then to rise up so swiftly and so high,” Tilak commented.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, attributed this to the people of Malaysia and praised the people for the smooth and peaceful transition of power, emphasising the importance of unity among the people of the country.
The Deputy Prime Minister also added that the future and development of the region very much depended on relationships between countries, such as Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
Bilateral trade between Malaysia and Sri Lanka increased by 24.7 per cent to USD415.5 million (RM1.7 billion) from January to June 2018 compared to USD333.1 million (RM1,370 billion) in the corresponding period of 2017.
Malaysia’s exports to Sri Lanka include palm oil and palm-based products, chemicals and chemical products, petroleum products, electrical and electronic products, machinery, appliance and parts.
Imports include textiles, clothing and footwear, processed food, natural rubber, rubber products, and chemical products.
There are 47 Malaysian companies currently operating in Sri Lanka mainly in telecommunications, energy, hydro-power, construction, lubricant blending, resort development, and education.