The year 2024 marks the 32nd anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Kazakhstan, a testament to the enduring partnership that has evolved since Kazakhstan’s independence in 1991. Over the years, trade and diplomatic relations between our nations have followed a continuous upward trajectory, reflecting the resilience of our bonds.

The historical relationship between Malaysia and Kazakhstan is characterized by a multifaceted partnership that extends beyond economic cooperation. Both nations have actively engaged in fostering economic cooperation, with bilateral trade steadily increasing, reaching $121 million in 2022. Malaysia continues to play a constructive role in Kazakhstan’s economic landscape, with Malaysian investments totalling over $1 billion since 1992 in various sectors such as oil and gas and construction materials, substantially contributing to Kazakhstan’s national development and progress.

Malaysia is also keen to explore various other opportunities in the Muslim-friendly tourism and agro-food sectors. As one of the largest exporters of palm vegetable oils to Central Asia, Malaysia sees Kazakhstan as an indispensable market in the region. Coupled with the fact that Kazakhstan remains a powerhouse in agricultural produce, including wheat and high-quality fruits and vegetables, deeper cooperation in the agro-food trade can help both nations alleviate potential pressures on food security amid future climactic and geopolitical challenges.

Beyond economic considerations, Malaysia’s government shares similar concerns with Kazakhstan over the recent conflict in the middle east. The shared call for an immediate truce to the hostilities and averting a humanitarian catastrophe underscores our shared commitment to international peace and security. Our common values have the potential to foster deeper multilateral collaboration on broad humanitarian issues, aligning with Malaysia’s eagerness to work with like-minded nations such as Kazakhstan to find long-term, effective solutions to the complex issues facing the world.

It stands to reason then that Kazakhstan holds an important and strategic position as Malaysia’s key partner in Central Asia. The strategic alliance between our nations has not only strengthened economic ties but also facilitated diplomatic collaboration. Malaysia recognises Kazakhstan’s significance as a gateway to the Central Asian region, providing a platform for expanded trade and cooperation through various multinational arrangements. Additionally, cultural and people-to-people exchanges offer vast potential in reinvigorating the tourism sector of both nations.

Crucially, the fundamental principles of Malaysia’s prevailing MADANI government emphasizes its commitment to the rule of law and the utmost respect for constitutional rights. As Kazakhstan maintains the path of reform and progress becomes vital, ensuring the supremacy of law, social cohesion, and reverence for the constitutional rights of the people. The integrity, credibility, and confidence placed in legal institutions and governance architecture form the foundation of a flourishing economic and diplomatic partnership. Kazakhstan’s commitment to a robust legal system is paramount towards continued international business participation and investment.

Looking ahead, Malaysia eagerly anticipates deepening collaboration with Kazakhstan, paving the way for enhanced economic development and fostering a strong and enduring bilateral relationship. Malaysia is committed to further cooperation, as our shared values and mutual dedication to common objectives position Kazakhstan and Malaysia as steadfast partners on the global stage.

This article was first published in The Astana Times, 29 January 2024

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