Timor-Leste strengthens bilateral relations with Malaysia in tourism and aviation connectivity

KUALA LUMPUR (TOP) - Timor-Leste has strived to maintain strong bilateral relations with Malaysia in the fields of tourism, human resource development, and aviation connectivity.

To strengthen this bilateral relationship, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, and Minister of Tourism and Environment, Dato' Sri Francisco Kalbuadi Lay paid an official visit to Kuala Lumpur for four days.

The Deputy Prime Minister and his delegation arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on December 3, 2023, and ended the official visit on December 5, 2023.

Before carrying out other agendas, the Deputy Prime Minister of Timor-Leste met with several Malaysian business people at the INTERCONTINENTAL Hotel Kuala Lumpur in the morning, and after lunch, he met again with the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Plantation and Commodities of Malaysia, Dato' Sri Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof.

During the meeting, the President of the Timor-Leste Tourism Authority was also present, Virgilio Simit who talked about how to strengthen bilateral relations that are closely related to developing the Timor-Leste tourism sector going forward.

The meeting between two members of the government focused on bilateral relations between two countries and exchanged ideas or perspectives on regional and international issues that are of common concern.

In 2002, the total bilateral trade between Malaysia and Timor-Leste was RM384.48 million (US$90.2 million), which increased by 93.3 percent compared to RM194.09 million (US$46.6 million) in 2021. 

Malaysia and Timor-Leste are looking forward to establishing direct flights connecting major destinations in both countries to boost tourism and promote cultural exchange.

Currently, there is no direct air connectivity between Kuala Lumpur and Dili. 

Minister of Tourism, Art, and Culture of Malaysia (MOTAC) in a statement that the air route issue and some tourism-related programs, such as Muslim-friendly tourism, were among the topics discussed by its minister, Datuk Seri Tiong King, and Timor-Leste’s Vice Prime Minister, Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, during their meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

“We can find a common ground of culture and language among Malaysia and Timor-Leste; hence, MOTAC is taking serious measures to develop and attract more tourists from the country. The Muslim-friendly concept will also have wider coverage in tourism infrastructure, facilities, products, and services,” MOTAC said.

The statement said Malaysia also looks forward to supporting Timor-Leste in capacity-building and technical assistance programs, including cultural heritage management.

"Malaysia, as a member of the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, offers assistance in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and looks forward to deepening collaboration with Timor-Leste in both tourism and cultural spheres, contributing to the prosperity and unity of the ASEAN region,” the statement said.

On the last day, December 5, 2023, the Deputy Prime Minister of Timor-Leste also met with his old friend several years ago, namely the king of Malaysia himself.

Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of Tourism and Environment, Dato' Sri Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, shaking hands with the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia and the 6th Sultan of Pahang, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta'in Billah, at the State Palace, Kuala Lumpur on December 2, 2023. Credit: Media VPM1.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sulta Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Shah today granted an audience to Vice-Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, at Istana Negara.

Lay arrived at the palace at 2.20 p.m. and spent about 30 minutes meeting the King.

Also present were Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, the Foreign Ministry’s secretary-general, Datuk Seri Amran Mohamed Zin, and Timor-Leste’s ambassador to Malaysia, Joana Veneranda Amaral.

The visit is to further strengthen and enhance the bilateral relationship between the two countries and demonstrate Malaysia's support for the full membership of Timor-Leste into ASEAN.

He held a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, who is also Plantation and Commodities Minister, to discuss bilateral relations and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Kalbuadi Lay, who also holds the portfolio of Tourism and Environment Minister, also met with his Malaysian counterpart, Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, to discuss potential collaboration in the tourism sector for both countries.

Official training in Malaysia

Timor-Leste is looking forward to further training of its officials at Malaysia’s Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) for knowledge exchange and capacity building between the two nations. 

The visiting Timor-Leste’s Vice Prime Minister, Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, said that since 2002, Malaysia has played a crucial role in the development of Timor-Leste’s human resource capacity.

He pointed out that over 600 Timorese officials have been trained in various fields through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) and the Malaysian Defence Cooperation Programme (MDCP).

“The support has a significant impact on Timor-Leste, as it has enhanced our officials skills and knowledge to serve their country and the people of Timor-Leste,” he said at the 48th anniversary of Timor-Leste’s Independence Proclamation Day celebration on Tuesday night.”

Expressing his gratitude to Malaysia and its people for the unwavering support extended to Timor-Leste since gaining independence in 2002, he said the two countries have a strong and amicable relationship.

Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of Tourism and Environment, Dato' Sri Francisco Kalbuadi Lay also met with his counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Plantations and Commodities of Malaysia, Dato' Sri Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof. Credit: Media VPM1.

Reflecting on both countries’ shared history, he recalled Malaysia’s pivotal role as one of the nations that sent its peacekeeping force to Timor-Leste during the 1999 referendum and the 2006 crisis.

“This act of solidarity echoes the deep and enduring friendship between our two nations,” he said.

He also expressed his deep appreciation for Malaysia’s consistent support for Timor-Leste’s accession to ASEAN since its formal application on March 4, 2011. Malaysia has been a steadfast ally in the country’s pursuit of regional collaboration and integration.

As an observer member in the ASEAN meeting, Timor-Leste has a great opportunity to learn from all the member states mechanisms and works.

“By participating in all ASEAN meetings, Timor-Leste has gained valuable insight and understood the ASEAN decision-making process. We are looking forward to working closely with ASEAN member states and ASEAN development partners on the implementation of the roadmap, endorsed by ASEAN leaders in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, in May 2023,” he said.

He stated that Timor-Leste is committed to working closely with Malaysia to address common challenges and promote peace, as well as cultivate strong people-to-people links by promoting cultural understanding and collaboration in the regional forums.

During the Friends of Timor-Leste-Malaysia Business Networking and Dinner Event on Monday, Kalbuadi Lay told reporters that Timor-Leste hopes to become a full member of ASEAN when Malaysia chairs the regional block in 2025.

Also present at the event were Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu, Timor-Leste’s Ambassador to Malaysia, Joana Veneranda Amaral, and heads of foreign missions.

The Oekusi Post
Author: The Oekusi PostWebsite: https://www.oekusipost.comEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.OeKusiPost.com nu’udar plataforma media online iha Oe-Kusi Ambeno, Timor-Leste ne’ebé aprezenta notísia iha área oioin iha teritóriu nasionál. Rua. Numbei, Oe-Kusi Ambeno Mobile: +670 7723 4114 Email: info (at) OeKusiPost.com

Online Counter