The new Malaysian government that came to power in May last year is committed to strengthening Malaysia-China relations with even closer and more meaningful co-operation, said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The trade and investment growth between the two countries in recent years had been meteoric and this trend would continue to generate more opportunities in the areas of tourism, science and technology as well as cultural exchanges, he said in a message in the souvenir book published by the Malaysia-China Friendship Association, better known as PPMC, to mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Mahathir said if in the initial stages, it was more of government-to-government relations, the partnership had scaled numerous levels and chalked up milestones that today make China Malaysia's biggest trade partner.
"China's astonishing growth in the last few decades that catapulted it to become the world's second biggest economy, had contributed much to its extensive presence not only in Malaysia, but in other parts of the world.
"Our co-operation has grown at various levels and sectors. I believe apart from the roles played by government and political leaders, the various associations and non-governmental organisations from both nations, including PPMC, have contributed much to the strong and positive state of affairs enjoyed by both our countries," he said.
The prime minister said it was in June 1993 when he witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding between PPMC and its sister organisation, the China-Malaysia Friendship Association, in Beijing, during one of his many official visits to China.
"I wish to congratulate PPMC for being able to sustain the friendship through all these years and in fact, taking it to a higher level," he said.
Mahathir said despite changes of leadership in both countries, the partnership had remained constant through the years, thanks to their adherence to the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs and striving to be good neighbours.
"I have always believed in the principle of 'prosper thy neighbour' and as China prospered, it has in turn prospered Malaysia as well," he added.
On China's Belt and Road initiative, the prime minister said Malaysia had taken the position of supporting it for the benefits were mutually shared and distributed.
He added that for Malaysia, it was a continuation of the ancient trade that started way back during the Malacca empire and trading between both countries had never diminished for centuries.
PPMC was formed in 1992 with members comprising entrepreneurs, investors, academicians, artists, educationists, politicians and professionals, as well as government officials sharing mutual interest in wanting to see a strong and sustained friendship, understanding and partnership between Malaysia and China.
In April 2005, veteran diplomat and former Malaysian ambassador to China Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan was elected PPMC president and he still holds the office till today.