Interview of the Head of the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic in Malaysia for the Malaysian Information Agency “BERNAMA”
- What is the progress in Kyrgyzstan after 27 years of independence?
Over the years of independence, Kyrgyzstan has made significant progress, especially in strengthening the sovereignty of the country. The country successfully passed to the parliamentary system of government, and also achieved transparent elections, for example, in the latest general and presidential elections, we have used the latest technologies using voter’s biometric data. Kyrgyzstan is a multiethnic country as Malaysia, and the Government of Kyrgyzstan has made progress in strengthening the unity of the people, through improving inter-ethnic relations, as representatives of ethnic minorities are represented in all branches of government.
Economically, Kyrgyzstan has become a member of the WTO as one of the first country among post-Soviet states and has established stable economic ties with many developed countries. In addition, China and Russia became the largest trading partners of Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan, by improving energy potential, has acquired energy independence, and planning to export electricity to neighboring countries. At present, the Kyrgyz Republic is a full-fledged member of the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia, and in which common customs tariffs are applied and free movement of goods, capital, services and people is provided between members of the organization.
In addition to the above, the Kyrgyz Republic has achieved significant success in revealing the country's tourism potential. Currently, there is a unified electronic system with the possibility of electronic payment for obtaining a Kyrgyz visa. With the help of this system, tourists from around the world can receive an electronic visa within three working days. To date, Kyrgyzstan is preparing for the Third World Nomadic Games, which will start on September 3, 2018 and is a very popular and exiting event for foreign tourists. Over 500 foreign journalists have already been accredited to cover these games. Many tourism companies in Malaysia also implementing tourist packages to the Kyrgyz Republic with an emphasis on these nomadic games.
2) What are the bilateral relations between Kyrgyzstan and Malaysia? How would you describe the current link between the two countries?
Bilateral relations between Kyrgyzstan and Malaysia are steadily progressing. The parties understand the need to intensify and strengthen bilateral ties and make appropriate efforts.
3) What is the volume of trade between the two countries?
The trade turnover between Kyrgyzstan and Malaysia in the last few years has been varied between 5 to 10 million US dollars.
4) What areas of interest is the Kyrgyz government considering to strengthen bilateral ties with Malaysia? (in terms of economic, political, educational, cultural, tourist, investment, etc.).
Kyrgyzstan considers strengthening of bilateral relations with Malaysia in the field of economy, investment, education and tourism. There is an unexploited potential in economic and investment areas. However, there are good results in tourism and education. The tourist flow from both countries increases every year, and Malaysia is becoming more popular among students from our country.
5) Perhaps there are difficulties in establishing closer ties with Malaysia due to the lack of direct flights between the two capitals. What are the strategies to improve and strengthen relations between governments and nations?
Due to the fact that Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country, and also due to the lack of direct flights between two capitals, there are difficulties in increasing trade between the Kyrgyz Republic and Malaysia. At present, the Embassy is working on attracting interested Malaysian airlines to Kyrgyzstan in order to develop aviation sphere of the Kyrgyz Republic. This proposal is under consideration of the Ministry of Transport of Malaysia.
Besides that, information about planned tenders and auctions for the development of various mine deposits in Kyrgyzstan is periodically being sent to Malaysian companies through the Malaysian Foreign Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), the detailed information on these opportunities are also available on the official website of the Embassy. Today, the Embassy together with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia is planning to organize a business forum on the theme "Business Opportunities in the Kyrgyz Republic" for Malaysian businessmen in the fourth quarter of this year. On May 25, 2018, the Embassy held a presentation for MATRADE employees on investment projects and export potential of the Kyrgyz Republic.
A very important mechanism for enhancing cooperation is the Bilateral consultations meetings between the foreign ministries of the Kyrgyz Republic and Malaysia, which is scheduled for October 2018. The parties agreed on the substantive part of this meeting and the issue of the venue of the meeting is currently under consideration. Within the framework of this meeting all issues on the bilateral agenda will be discussed.
6) What are the investment opportunities and restrictions in Kyrgyzstan? What are the advantages of doing business in your country?
Kyrgyzstan has a number of investment advantages, for example, goods of the Kyrgyz Republic have access to a market with a population of 2 billion people, and the country is located in the center of the Eurasian continent. In addition, Kyrgyzstan participates in the preferential tariff system GSP +, and also has five FEZs located in different regions of the country. The Government pays special attention to the protection and promotion of foreign investments and provides equal conditions for foreign and local companies. The country has the most beneficial tax system in the region (12% value added tax, 10% income tax, 10% profit tax). In addition, Kyrgyzstan is rich in mine deposits and mineral resources, and has a skilled workforce.
7) Which Malaysian companies currently operate in Kyrgyzstan?
Currently, there are few Malaysian companies operating in Kyrgyzstan. They are mainly engaged in the areas of service, education and tourism.
8) Malaysian Prime Minister Thun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad made a return official visit to Kyrgyzstan in 1996. He was also elected Prime Minister for the second time. What are your government’s expectations during the premiership of Dr. Mahathir?
As Prime Minister of Malaysia in 1996 and 1997, Dr. Mahathir had visited the Kyrgyz Republic twice with official visits. Besides that, as ex-Prime Minister in 2012, Dr. Mahathir made a working trip to the Kyrgyz Republic, during which he met with our the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Parliament and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic. After his re-election as prime minister in the last election, Kyrgyzstan hopes to intensify the political and economic dialogue at all levels.
9) Will there be any high-level visits between Kyrgyzstan and Malaysia in the future?
In September, sides are planning to hold a bilateral meeting of Foreign ministers of the two countries, during which the parties intend to discuss the possibility of arranging visits at various levels, including at the highest level.
10) Does Malaysia have an embassy in Kyrgyzstan? If not, are there plans to open the Embassy?
Unfortunately, Malaysia does not have an Embassy in Kyrgyzstan, however, this issue is on the bilateral agenda. The Kyrgyz side sincerely hopes for a positive solution of this issue, because the opening the Diplomatic Mission of Malaysia in the Kyrgyz Republic will create additional opportunities for expanding bilateral cooperation.