Treadell to leave Malaysia with stronger Britain-Malaysia ties

By Prosyscom
In March 12, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: After four and a half years serving as the British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Ipoh-born Vicki Treadell is heading to Australia, leaving behind stronger relations between Malaysia and Britain.

Treadell said during her tenure here, four areas constitute the backbone of the ties trade and economic, defence and security, education, and government to government.

She said since assuming the post here on Oct 21, 2014, trade and economy has been a big area of focus, including supporting corporations in making the right investments in the two countries.

“There have been many British companies that have been here for a long time,” she told Bernama, adding that the challenges were to ensure these companies remained noticeable.

Treadell was paying a visit to the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) headquarters here, where she met Bernama’s chief executive officer (CEO) Nurini Kassim, Bernama chairman Datuk Seri Azman Ujang and Bernama Editor-in-Chief Datuk Zakaria Abd Wahab.

Treadell will officially end her service in Malaysia today and will assume the post of British High Commissioner to Australia next week.

The envoy noted that the first two international banks here – the Standard Chartered Bank and Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC) are both British, having been here for almost 150 years.

Treadell said there has been an increased focus on technology and digital economy in the cooperation between London and Kuala Lumpur, with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the British government and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to explore how Britain can support Malaysia’s economic transformation and digital economy.

Malaysia is Britain’s second largest market in Asean.

In 2018, Britain’s exports to Malaysia totalled 2.4 billion British pound while its imports from Malaysia were 2.4 billion British pound (1 British pound = RM5.35).

The value of Britain’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Malaysia stood at 3.2 billion British pound in 2017.

Some of the leading British investors in Malaysia are BP, Shell, BT, BAE Systems, Astra Zeneca, GSK, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Prudential, Tesco, and Mott MacDonald.

On defence and security, the high commissioner said as members of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), Britain and Malaysia enjoyed great partnerships in this area including annual exercises and annual defence strategic dialogue, which is a ministerial-level dialogue, held for the first time in June 2018.

She noted that the two countries also work closely on counter-terrorism and combating violent extremism through a regional counter-terrorism and extremism network hub team at the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur which coordinates all of UK’s work on these matters across South Asia and South East Asia.

“These challenges doesn’t recognise boundaries and we recognised they require international collaboration. A lot of that work is done here in Kuala Lumpur,” she said.

Treadell highlighted that education will continue to be one of the main pillars of the long-standing Malaysia-Britain bilateral relations.

Malaysian students account for the second largest foreign students’ population in Britain with over 18,000 students despite fluctuating exchange rates or economic slowdown, she said, adding that there are around 500,000 British alumni from Malaysia today.

The diplomat said there are now five British university campuses – University of Nottingham Malaysia, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, University of Southampton Malaysia, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, and the University of Reading Malaysia – as well as over 30 British international schools here.

She said that their presence not only contributes to the economy, but also makes Malaysia a great educational platform for the region, and supports the government’s ambition of making the country a world class education destination.

“Education is a great example of our mutual interest, and (it is) not about what Britain could gain from Malaysia or what Malaysia could gain from Britain…but what we can share together,” she noted.

Treadell also pointed out that political engagements between the two governments have always been great and that it is an important factor to ensure relations between Malaysia and Britain continue to flourish in the future.

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