Manjula Saikia Bhuyan, Additional Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department exchanging the MoU with President, MIBC, Malaysia Tan Sri Ir Kuna Sittampalam in Guwahati on November 10, 2019. Handout image

Assam Industries and Commerce Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia India Business Council (MIBC) in Guwahati on Sunday.

The MoU was signed in presence of industries minister, Chandra Mohan Patowary and president, MIBC, Tan Sri Ir Kuna Sittampalam.

Also read: Assam industry minister moots trade and connectivity with Malaysia

Both the parties agreed to explore and improve the two-way trade and investment between India and Malaysia in sectors like education, tourism, primary industries etc.

Assistance will be accorded to business or trade missions from India visiting Malaysia and vice versa in seminars, conferences, exhibitions, economic and technical fairs, information bureau, symposia, or similar events taking place in each other’s country.

It was also decided to accelerate engagement, trade, cultural exchange to unlock the potential sectors between Assam and Malaysia.

Speaking at the ceremony, Patowary said, “Business and connectivity are two sides of the same coin. The trilateral highway which is expected to open by 2021 will connect Assam to Malaysia through Myanmar and Thailand.”

“The Kaladan multi-modal project will also provide access to Sittwe sea port of Myanmar and make it easy to trade with Malaysia,” he added.

“The Mongla and Chittagong ports of Bangladesh will allow North East to access the South East Asian market,” he also said.

Patowary hoped that the MoU will help in embarking a new journey of exploring opportunities and pitching in investment in the potential sectors.

Assuring full help and cooperation, the minister called attention to the Malaysian delegation to invest in sectors like infrastructure, health care, food processing, tea tourism cum golf tourism, bamboo and agar which are supported by investment-friendly policies like state industrial policy, sugar policy, IT policy, export and logistic policy.

The minister requested MIBC to open a Malaysian consulate in Guwahati and start flight connectivity between Guwahati and Kuala Lumpur.

“Though we are divided by boundaries, our roots are same. It’s the heart to heart connection we share and with the philosophy of Atithi Devo Bhava – the guest is god, we will work together in each other’s states at the industrial sectors,” added Patowary.

Tan Sri Ir Kuna Sittampalam, president, MIBC, said apart from the historical perspective, a comprehensive business agreement between India and Malaysia was signed in 2011 and since then the trade between the two countries has increased from $ 8 billion to $17.24 billion in 2018-19.

Calling the MoU as a historical milestone, Sittampalam added that the Northeast can be the food basket for Malaysia as the country imports varieties of food items from India.

Dr K K Dwivedi, commissioner and secretary of Industries and Commerce Department, said Indian origin people constitutes nine per cent of the total population of Malaysia which comes to a figure of 2.75 million people.

In 2018 general election, a total of 16 people of Indian origin were elected in the Lower House of Parliament of Malaysia called Dewan Rakyat, out of them four are ministers and one being a deputy minister.

In 2018, six lakh Indian tourists and 3.22 lakh Malaysian tourists visited each other’s countries.

Malaysia has invested $ 4.5 billion in India and FDI inflow has been $ 932.19 million during 2000-19.

Virendra Mittal, managing director, AIDC; Manjula Saikia Bhuyan, additional secretary, Pawan Choudhury, Invest India and senior officials of Industries and Commerce Department were present in the programme.

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