The Australian Government is keen to work closely with Malaysia, in particular, the Sarawak Government, in various fields to further strengthen cooperation and ties between Australia and the state.
Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Rod Smith said Australia and Malaysia enjoyed a strong foundation in relations and cooperation.
Nevertheless, the two countries could further strengthen cooperation in many fields, he told a press conference here today, in conjunction with his two-day working visit to Sarawak, his second to the state since his appointment as high commissioner.
During his visit here, Smith made courtesy calls to Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem and the three Sarawak Deputy Chief Ministers, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg and Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.
The high commissioner said the Australian and Sarawak governments were looking into areas in the agriculture sector to work together to further boost the state’s agriculture sector.
He said as Australia had the expertise in the agriculture and food industry, it would be able to assist Sarawak in that field, including in the small and medium industries.
Besides that, Smith said the Australian business community also explored other investment opportunities in Sarawak, including the oil and gas industry, healthcare, food industries, tourism and education.
In field of education, he noted a strong connection between Sarawak and Australia, with many Sarawakians benefitting from the Colombo Plan scholarship in the past.
He said the establishment of two Australian universities — Swinburne University in Kuching and Curtin University in Miri — saw 4,000 students in each university.
Smith said this year, 24,000 Malaysian students were studying in Australia and 270 Australians, in Malaysia.
In the tourism industry, about 500,000 Australians visited Malaysia last year while 300,000 Malaysians visited Australia.
On investment, Smith said there were more Malaysian investments in Australia totalling about RM29 billion.
Also present at the press conference was Australian Consulate in Kuching, Datuk Dr Philip Ting.