Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller and Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, have expressed satisfaction with the progress of bilateral relations between the two countries and have reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening these relations through the exchange of visits and cooperation in the economic, technological, shipping, health and educational sectors, among other areas.
In a joint communiqué issued yesterday (May 2) at the conclusion of bilateral talks between the Prime Ministers at Jamaica House, the leaders said the relationship between the two countries was underpinned by a strong adherence to democratic values, multilateralism and South-South cooperation, which had resulted in close cooperation both at the bilateral and multilateral levels, particularly within the context of the United Nations, Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 and China, as well as the Group of 15.
They noted that Jamaica and Malaysia had collaborated successfully in the area of infrastructure development, which was an outstanding example of meaningful South-South cooperation. In regard to this, Prime Minister Simpson Miller reiterated the country's appreciation for the technical assistance the Malaysian government had provided for the Highway 2000 Millennium Project.
Meanwhile, Mr. Abdullah expressed pleasure at the warm hospitality of the Jamaican government and its people, and reiterated his willingness to continue to work with Jamaica on international issues affecting both countries, particularly as these relate to all developing nations. He noted that with unity, developing countries could have a better impact on issues affecting them than they would on their own.
In specific areas, such as trade and investment, the Prime Ministers agreed on measures to be taken to promote business opportunities, bilateral trade and investment, and emphasized the need for the private sectors of both states to work together to improve trade and investment opportunities. The Malaysian private sector was encouraged to invest in the island's infrastructure, construction and housing sectors.
In light of the expansion programmes being undertaken by the countries' respective port authorities, it was agreed that areas for possible cooperation between the Port Authority of Jamaica and the Port Klang Authority of Malaysia, should be explored.
Another important topic in the discussions was the matter of the negative impact of rising energy costs on both countries' economic development and the leaders agreed on the need to diversify energy resources. This includes exploration of possible areas of cooperation in the energy sector.
On cooperation in education, the Prime Ministers agreed to expedite the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in education, while in agriculture, they agreed that the island could benefit from collaboration with Malaysia in coconut growing, specifically to combat lethal yellowing disease. Prime Minister Simpson Miller also expressed interest in receiving technical assistance in the cultivation of palm oil to be used in the development of an edible oil agro-processing plant.
Sport was also discussed, and the Malaysian Prime Minister made note of Jamaica's success in track and field, and netball, while highlighting his country's success in badminton. The leaders shared the view that sports could significantly contribute to the strengthening of national harmony, instilling patriotism and developing a disciplined society, and they agreed to expedite the conclusion of a MoU on cooperation in Sports.
In addition, in recognition of the need for joint and coordinated actions to combat the spread of infectious diseases, it was agreed to exchange information to deal with the Avian Flu.
As it regards regional matters, the Prime Ministers exchanged views on recent developments in their respective regions, including CARICOM and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Prime Minister Simpson Miller gave an overview on the progress being made toward full implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and highlighted the benefits, which this would have for the expansion of intra-regional trade and the creation of new opportunities for pan-CARICOM investments and regional economic integration.
Prime Minister Abdullah leaves the island this afternoon after two days of bilateral talks with the Jamaican government. His delegation included: Minister of Public Works, Dato Seri S. Samy Vellu; Minister of Higher Education, Dato Mustapa Mohamed; Minister of Youth and Sports, Datuk Azalina Othman Said; and Dato Joseph Salang, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as senior officials of the Malaysian government and members of the Malaysian media.
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