Building Bridges between Continents: Malaysia and Kazakhstan’s Strategic Partnership and Shared Values

Malaysia and Kazakhstan, separated by vast distances, share a surprising common ground. Both nations are multi-ethnic democracies striving for sustainable development and regional peace. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s visit to Kazakhstan presents a golden opportunity to solidify our bilateral partnership and address pressing global challenges. In an era marked by globalization and the interconnectedness of markets and cultures, Malaysia-Kazakhstan ties are underscored by its enduring promotion of the values that transcend borders and foster cooperation. 

Dr. Mohd Faiz Abdullah.

The foundations for a strong friendship already exist. Kazakhstan holds a crucial strategic position as Malaysia’s key regional partner with both nations well placed to capitalize on its synergies, opening new doors for economic cooperation. Our shared desire for a more prosperous society creates fertile ground for deeper collaboration in infrastructure development, agriculture, and technology. 

Beyond economics, a cornerstone of Malaysia’s philosophy of nationhood – Malaysia Madani, otherwise known by its English acronym, SCRIPT, which stands for Sustainability, Compassion, Respect, Innovation, Prosperity, and Trust aims to foster a society built upon on the values of inclusivity and peaceful co-existence. These ideals find affinity with similar ideals held by Kazakhstan’s government. 

Malaysia’s unwavering commitment to multicultural harmony manifests a powerful message in a world plagued by division and discord. Our rich tapestry of cultures and history embodies the concept of unity in diversity, demonstrating that this is not just a slogan but a lived reality for millions of Malaysians. In this vein, there is a convergence of shared values as exemplified in the Kazakhstan President’s recent call to reject extremism and ensure peace in the region. 

Further, Malaysia’s commitment to the rule of law stands as a fundamental pillar of its democratic society. Malaysia’s adherence to the principles of justice, transparency and accountability underscores this commitment and the protection of human rights. It is indeed laudable that the Kazakh government has recently initiated legal reforms for the protection of the rights of women and children, sharing a dedication to safeguarding vulnerable members of society, advancing the empowerment of women and the welfare of children. 

In respect of sustainability, we strive for an economy built upon the virtues of environmental conservation and nature-positive development. The recent floods in Kazakhstan, which displaced over a hundred thousand people, nearly half of them being children, was indeed tragic. As a tropical nation familiar with intense annual monsoon floods, exacting a heavy toll each year, Malaysia appreciates the struggle for improved water infrastructure and energy security in the face of climate change. This challenge presents crucial areas for collaboration, safeguarding against future climatic catastrophes.

Outside national borders, Malaysia and Kazakhstan are united concerning the cessation of hostilities in Gaza. Our mutual concern for the humanitarian situation is expressed by repeat calls for a ceasefire and commitment to the two-state solution. In light of this, it is imperative that Malaysia stands together and engage with like-minded nations like Kazakhstan to seek sustainable solutions to address the region’s complex geopolitical issues, paving the way for increased multilateral cooperation on broader regional humanitarian challenges.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s visit to Kazakhstan represents an opportunity to deepen the enduring bonds of friendship and cooperation between both nations. Coinciding with this visit, the signing of a partnership memorandum between ISIS Malaysia and our Kazakh counterpart, the Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies (KazISS) further underscores our shared ambition for closer collaboration. In the spirit of partnership and cooperation, let us seize this moment to build bridges, foster understanding and strive towards a world where peace, security and mutual understanding prevail. 

The author is Professor Dr Mohd Faiz Abdullah, the Chairman, Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia. 

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