Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob today called for the exploration of new areas of cooperation related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives by Malaysia and Japan through projects and programmes implemented under the Look East policy.
He said this included diversifying cooperation in the fields of disaster crisis, ageing societies, the digital economy, science, technology and innovation as well as green growth.
According to the World Economic Forum Global Risk Report 2022 on issues such as climate change, the social impact of an ageing population and social polarisation after the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to seriously affect the economy and livelihoods of most countries within the next 10 years, he said in his speech at the opening of the Business Seminar to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Look East Policy in Kuala Lumpur today.
The text of his speech was read out by International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali.
He said the implementation of the Look East policy also focused on the balanced flow of benefits to Malaysia and Japan, including through Malaysia's ability to increase cooperation in the development of the halal industry with Japan.
"Malaysia as a pioneer in the global halal industry can certainly help Japan which is very keen to develop its halal industry," he said.
"This year is very special for bilateral relations between Malaysia and Japan because it marks the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations, and the 40th anniversary of the Look East policy," he said, adding that the Malaysian government introduced the policy in 1982 as a transition from Western-oriented modernisation to emulating Eastern values, especially from Japan.
The prime minister said the Look East policy had contributed greatly to human capital development, the sharing of expertise and technology transfer, especially in the manufacturing and industrial sector in Malaysia.
He also said he was proud that the economic relationship between Malaysia and Japan had been manifested through an encouraging increase in bilateral trade volume since the Look East policy was introduced.
"Japan is now the fourth largest trading partner and one of the main sources of foreign investment for Malaysia," he added.