NILAI, December 4, 2018 – Approximately 130 participants had taken part in an academic conference ’Malaysia-Japan Historical Relation: From History to a New Kizuna’ which were held in Le Meridien Hotel Putrajaya.

Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) through the Faculty of Major Languages Studies (FPBU) as the main organiser has taken a proactive action by driving the collaboration with 8 other entities through a platform for intellectual dialogues at multiple levels of the society in order to provide new dimension input together in the Look East Policy which will be reinstated by the current government.

The following institutions and organisations had also contributed to the success of the conference: Ambang Asuhan Jepun of Universiti Malaya (AAJ, UM), Pusat Bahasa Teikyo Malaysia (PBT), Japan Associates Degree, Malaysia-Japan Higher Education Program (MJHEP), Malaysia Japanese Language Instructors Society (MAJLIS), Alumni of Look East Policy Society (ALEPS), Omoiyari Institute (OI), Keiken Talk (KT), Katana Circle (KC), and Cakap Jepun of Michi Global Resource (CJ).

According to Prof. Dato’ Dr. Musa Ahmad, Vice Chancellor of USIM, through the TED-format presentations, the speakers who had been invited are experts in their fields which are education, science and technology, media, and the Industry 4.0. The distinguished speakers are Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abd Razak, the Rector of International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM); Professor Hisao Takekuma from Kyushu University of Japan; Dr. Mohd. Zulkefeli Mat Jusoh (International Medical University, IMU); Dato’ Zulkifli Abd. Malek (Pusat Bahasa Teikyo); Encik Zulfiqar Zainuddin (ALEPS), and Encik Edward Lee (Yayasan Jepun Kuala Lumpur). Besides that, this sharing session will also benefit all participants, especially the students from the preparatory program who are going to Japan universities since they can learn a  lot on the history of the two-way relationship between Malaysia and Japan.

“Japan celebrated the 60-years anniversary of Japan-Malaysia diplomatic relations in 2017. The 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has made a statement that he will review and reinstate the Look East Policy for the benefits of both countries. This decision has garnered interests from many parties.”

“This conference has provided a stage for dialogue in multiple level to ensure that the nation’s aspiration of positive culture to drive the development of the country can be realized. This conference is also able to provide positive inputs to the government to empower the Look East Policy which had been established for almost 37 years. This year is also the 60th year of the diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Japan and hence this is a timely opportunity to recapitulate the history of the two-way relationship between the two countries in various aspects,“ Dato’ Musa added.

Program Series/1 was organised to foster understanding relating to culture and values of the Japanese society. This series are targeted for all Malaysians from all walks of life, as a, introductory platform in viewing Malaysia-Japan relationship from the historical aspect, today and in the future. Program Series/2 was in the form of an education camp program for Japanese Higher Education preparatory program which was held in Beranang. Program Series/3 was organised in the form of Public Speech for students in higher education institutions. It provided a discourse platform for the youth to encourage them to learn about Japan’s best practices than can be applied in Malaysia in the future.

Program Series/4 was the closing event for all the program series that had been arranged for the purpose of creating dynamics to Malaysia-Japan two-way relationship, which combines the perspectives from the historical aspect, as well as current and future potential.

The objectives for the conference is to study the history of Malaysia-Japan relationship, to provide an avenue for intellectual dialogue and discussion about Malaysia-Japan relationship, to increase the society’s understanding on Japanese values and ethics, and to generate inputs and new dimension suggestions as reference to improve the Look East Policy.

“Malaysia-Japan Discourse (MAJA) was formed when YAB Prime Minister voiced out the need to reinvigorate the Look East Policy at the Nikkei Conference and during his work trip to Japan in May 2018. MAJA Discourse comprise a series of programs online and 4 programs at selected locations. It was quite challenging for me and my team to organise these programs due to time constraint. However, I am proud to say that we have successfully engaged thousands of participants (online and face-to-face) through the series of programs that we had organised.

“I hope that the outcome of the Malaysia-Japan relationship discourse can be realized and shared with as many people as possible. The positive values of the Japanese society has driven the development of their people and nation after World War II. The strength of their ethics and integrity in the workplace culture had contributed to the success of Japan. Malaysia is a unique multiracial country. Three out of four program from the series were dedicated to the youth of Malaysia who will inherit this beloved nation. In the era of New Malaysia, MAJA Discourse aims to reach all Malaysians, to share the history of Malaysia-Japan relationship; by learning from the past to contemplate the current situation, for a clearer and more positive future.

“It targets academics, researchers, policymakers, policy think tank, and administrators in fields relating to Malaysia and Japan as presenters and invited speakers from Japan. The conference is open to all academics, NGO/NPO who are involved in Malaysia-Japan collaborations, and students from higher education institutions, and all other parties who are interested in the Look East Policy,” Dr. Zoraida Mustafa explained in her capacity as the Project Director.

As part of the event, the Japanese translation of the book ‘Razak Sensei Pemangkin Jalinan Malaysia-Jepun’ (the original book in Malay was published by Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka) was launched by Minister Hiroyuki Orikasa, Deputy Chief of Mission.

This book was published by Penerbit USIM with cooperation from Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka (DBP) as well as Japan Foundation with additional new chapters from Puan Hariza’s interviews  with Dr. Kazuko Oniki, Dean of SANNO University;  and Prof. Dr. Taiji Hotta from Hiroshima University.

According to Puan Hariza, Head of Penerbit USIM, this collaboration was arranged to initiate a more robust publishing network with publishers in Japan, especially since the book is about a Malaysian who not only have strong connection in the historical aspect, but also relates to a long diplomatic tie in providing values to the Look East Policy.

”This book is published at the right time as Malaysia-Japan relations are tight right now and the publication values must be communicated to Malaysians and the Japanese,”  Puan Hariza explained.

Also present during the event were Prof. Dr. Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and International), and Prof. Dato’ Dr. Roshada Hashim, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation).

Prepared by:
Noorumaina Mohamed Yunus
Pusat Komunikasi Strategik (StraComm)
Aras 1, Canselori Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM)
71800 Nilai, Negeri Sembilan
Tel : 06-798 8026/78629/78620 Faks : 06-798 8032