The Ambassador of Malaysia to Cuba, Khairi Omar, in an interview with Granma International on the occasion of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of his country’s independence in Havana, described the ties between the two countries as excellent.
The diplomat referred to bilateral cooperation established in the fields of biotechnology, health, education, and sports. “We call this people-to-people collaboration,” he noted, expressing gratitude to Cuba for offering Malaysian students the opportunity to study at the island’s universities.
He also noted the interest of his government in establishing scientific agreements to produce Cuban medicines in Malaysia, pointing to the success of the island’s cancer vaccines and Heberprot-P, for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers and complex wounds.
In this regard, the Ambassador stated: “Cubans from different professions have pursued postgraduate courses in Malaysia, Malaysians have studied in Cuba. At the end of their studies, they return to their countries better prepared, and tell their stories and the experiences acquired. This contributes greatly to closer relations between the two peoples.”
Diplomatic relations between Cuba and Malaysia were established in 1975. In 2004, efforts began in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur to found a friendship association with the island, which was officially constituted on October 11, 2010, with the name “Friends of Cuba.” The organization works to strengthen fraternal ties and cultural exchanges between the two nations.
On August 31, 1957, Malaysia proclaimed its independence, leaving behind more than a century of colonization, illiteracy, and much of the poverty that had plagued it for years. Since then, the Asian country has transformed its economy based on the production of rubber, tin, and palm oil, to become a world leader of the computer and electronics industry.
In a speech during an act to celebrate the country’s Independence Day at the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP) in Havana, Ambassador Khairi Omar stated: “It is the desire of the government of Malaysia to continue strengthening the excellent relations that exist with Cuba. Malaysia firmly believes that both countries can do more than we have thus far.”
He stressed that both high level visits and simple exchanges should be encouraged to explore potential and future collaboration between institutions in both countries. “I am confident that bilateral relations between Malaysia and Cuba will continue to strengthen and flourish in the years to come,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, ICAP President Fernando González Llort cited the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, who during his stay in Kuala Lumpur in 2001 stated: “We are united by the shared history of a colonial past, the common condition of underdeveloped countries that have set out to achieve the development of their peoples, the clear perception of the serious dangers that threaten the Third World today, the same decision to resist the sacrifice of our identity and self-determination for the sake of unjust and dangerous globalization.”
González, a decorated Hero of the Republic of Cuba, also noted that both governments have worked in the pursuit of peace, justice and international stability, and expressed his confidence that together they will strengthen lasting relations of solidarity.