Malaysia keen to work with Turkey to help refugees, says DPM

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says Malaysia wants to work with Turkey to help the refugees. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says Malaysia wants to work with Turkey to help the refugees. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

PUTRAJAYA, June 13 ― Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said Malaysia is keen on working with Turkey to help refugees who are driven out from their homes due to economic reasons.

After receiving a courtesy call from Turkey’s Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Merve Safa Kavakçı on Monday, Wan Azizah said a long-term solution was needed to help them economically so that people are drawn back to where they belong.

“Maybe policies can be more suited to that,” she said in a statement here today.

Meanwhile, Wan Azizah said Turkey and Malaysia have to be strong economically to help the ummah (Muslims).

“We have to be strong countries, coming together, and helping each other to help others in areas of strife and to be the cool minds to pacify and to make this place a better place for all,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Ambassador agreed, saying there must be a two-pronged approach to this.

“(We must have ) a strong Malaysia and a strong Turkey, both economically independent, with increased collaboration between both countries as two regional powers. When we thrive sustainably ourselves, we can be of better help to the needy,” she said.

During the courtesy call, Wan Azizah suggested cyber security and artificial intelligence for both countries to work on as the world today faced new threats in the form of cyber threats.

Dr Kavakçı agreed, saying that it is good for countries to produce their own technology in this area to ensure they are not held to ransom by others.

The Turkish Ambasador said Turkey and Malaysia are keen on working together in technology transfers, education, defence, construction, the development of organic and general food industries as well as textiles.

She said  it was an important duty for her to make sure Malaysia and Turkey become closer in every facet of collaboration.

“Our trade is around US$3 billion (RM11.9 billion) from your side to us and a little over US$300 million from our side. There is a huge discrepancy there so Insya Allah (God willing) , we can work together to bring that to an equitable state and to do more.

“We want to bring Turkish industries and Malaysian industries together, not in a way for one side to dominate the other, but to collaborate, to join hands in technology transfer, in building together and in putting heads together,” she said.

 Dr Kavakçı said Turkey is looking forward to more collaboration in health and in the academic field with Malaysia and to join hands in innovative technology and knowledge production.

She said Malaysia is a gateway for Turkey to Asia, the Far East and India while Turkey can aid and assist in making Malaysia more visible in the African continent.

Among other issues discussed including the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) role to tackle and reform to make sure it is not under the monopoly of any one country and to make sure it is inclusive to include the larger ummah as well as   to make the Free Trade Agreement that was signed between Malaysia and Turkey in 2014 more visible.

The total trade between Malaysia and Turkey increased by 38.9 per cent in 2017 to US$2.8 billion from US$2 billion in 2016. Exports increased by 42.2 per cent to US$2.4 billion in 2017 compared to US$1.7 billion in 2016. At the same time, imports grew by 24.1 per cent to US$0.36 billion compared to US$0.3 billion in 2016.

Last year, major exports to Turkey from Malaysia were palm oil and palm-based products; metal products; textiles, apparels and footwear; chemicals, chemicals and chemical products; and electrical and electronic products.

Major imports from Turkey were textiles, apparels and footwear; machinery, equipment and parts; chemicals and chemical products; petroleum products; as well as fruits and other agriculture products. ― Bernama