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Malaysia prepares to welcome Chinese Premier Li Qiang as countries mark 50 years of bilateral ties

Malaysia-China diplomatic ties were established in a joint communique between its second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak and premier Zhou Enlai on May 31, 1974, a major shift from the country’s previous staunchly anti-communist stance.

China imports billions of dollars worth of electronic equipment, integrated circuits, rubber and durian from the Southeast Asian nation.

Relations between the two nations “will definitely continue to be strengthened for the well-being of the people of both friendly countries,” he added.

The dates of Li’s visit were not immediately clear.

But Malaysia’s foreign ministry is going big to mark the bilateral milestone that also includes a sequence of planned high-level visits, commemorative stamps, business forums and cultural performances.


Malaysia’s China-linked multibillion-dollar ghost town project stalled by Covid and capital curbs

In Malaysia, Chinese real estate investors also remain highly sought after a long retreat since the pandemic and subsequent slowdown of the domestic economy.

Instead, the 30-storey tower blocks remain largely unoccupied as banks seek their loans back just as Chinese investors go shy, leaving Country Garden sinking under billions of dollars of debt as China’s economy slows, and fewer buyers take up its developments at home and abroad.

On Wednesday, Malaysia’s government said it was open to extend a US$10 billion China-led rail project to its border with Thailand to boost economic ties between the Southeast Asian neighbours.

Part of China’s belt and road plan, the 665-kilometre (413-mile), 50.27 billion ringgit (US$10.63 billion) railway is on track to connect the east and west coasts of Peninsular Malaysia by the end of 2026.

The original rail link was first proposed