Selangor Journal
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong speaks at the Networking Brunch with Government, Business and Civil Society event in Kuala Lumpur, as part of her three-day official visit to Malaysia, on June 29, 2022. — Picture by BERNAMA

Education remains central to Australia – Malaysia relation, says Penny Wong

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — Cooperation in the field of education remains central to Malaysia-Australia bilateral relations, Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong said.

She said Malaysia and Australia have a long tradition of cooperation in education ever since both countries became the beneficiaries of the historic scholarship scheme administered by the original Colombo Plan that began in the 1950s.

She highlighted that Malaysia is now hosting to the largest overseas Australian university presence in the world, making it an important transnational education hub in Southeast Asia.

The country is also one of the most popular destinations for Australian undergraduates, supported by the New Colombo Plan (NCP), she added.

“Monash, Swinburne, Curtin and Wollongong universities all have a significant presence in Malaysia.

“The education opportunities provide an endless growth potential for individuals and their communities, and for their countries,” Wong, who is currently on a three-day official visit to Malaysia, said in her speech during the networking brunch with government, business and civil society here today.

Also in attendance at the event were Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) chairman Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Mohd Radzi, local politicians and members of the diplomatic corps.

Wong said over the past 20 years, more than 125,000 Malaysians had studied in Australia, while many Australians also benefitted from education in Malaysia.

The Colombo Plan, she said, paved the way for both countries to build connections and friendship, besides harnessing opportunities for mutual benefit.

“Yet it is largely education that has the foundation on which our countries — and our peoples — have built mutual respect and understanding.

“And it is education that is so central to how we build a shared future with shared experiences,” she added.

Under the original Colombo Plan, over 20,000 talented young students from around the region had studied in Australia from the 1950s to the mid-1980s.

Many of these students went on to become leaders in their field, bringing lasting benefits to their respective countries, as well as bolstering Australia’s relations within the region.

Since Malaysia joined the NCP in 2015, around 2,000 Australian undergraduates have been supported to undertake study and internships in Malaysia.

The NCP started in 2014, is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.

— Bernama

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