KUALA LUMPUR: At least two agreements are expected to be signed during Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s official visit to Malaysia this week.
Ukraine’s new ambassador to Malaysia, Olexander Nechytaylo, told the New Sunday Times that he hoped the bureaucratic hurdles could be overcome to enable the signing of the two pacts, which cover security and economic cooperation.
“The visit will focus on an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation.
“If we complete the bureaucratic procedures, we will sign an agreement on assistance in legal and civil matters.”
This would be the first visit by the Ukrainian head of state to Malaysia, said Nechytaylo, adding that it was a golden opportunity to strengthen not just the bilateral ties between the two countries, but also the personal relationship between Poroshenko and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“This is a good opportunity to ensure our president and the prime minister spend some time to build this (relationship).
“Because no matter how important the government business is, it all comes down to the personal relationship.”
Ukraine achieved independence when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Malaysia was among the first countries to recognise the newly formed nation.
Diplomatic ties were established in 1992.
Trade and economic cooperation is expected to be high on Poroshenko’s agenda.
“The other item on the agenda is, of course, trade and economics.
“I think Malaysia is in quite a fortunate position, I should say, in terms of economic growth.
“Ukraine is a victim of foreign aggression. Our economy is not good at the moment.
“Because of the occupation of Crimea and the eastern territories, we lost about 25 per cent of our economy.
“Many of our industrial plants and factories were in those territories,” said Nechytaylo.
The Department of Statistics’ figures show that trade between the two nations had been on a downward trend since 2012, falling from RM1.9 billion that year to RM1.007 billion last year.
To encourage business between Malaysian and Ukrainian enterprises, a business forum will be held at the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation headquarters.
“That will be held on the second day of the president’s visit.
“We will have a group of Ukrainian businessmen coming, and more than a dozen Ukrainian companies will be represented.
“Dozens of Malaysian companies have confirmed their participation,” said Nechytaylo.
“We believe this networking is a very important element as we know that no matter how hard the government tries, it’s up to the private businesses to establish relations and to build and transform the relations to trade agreements.”
Ukraine is also keen to boost cooperation in areas like education.
Nechytaylo said there were more than 1,000 Malaysian students, mostly studying medicine, in Ukraine, but the number had fallen drastically in recent years.
“We want to restart this (cooperation) because Ukrainian universities are quite competitive, in terms of price and education quality.”
He said the major cities like Kiev, Kharkiv and Lviv had world-class institutions, and were catering to a growing multinational student population.
“We have students from many parts of the world, including Central Asia, Middle East, Africa and China. So, the geography of the students studying here is wide.
“The more people come here, the more prepared and developed the infrastructure.
“For instance, because of the growing number of Muslims here, we now have more halal food outlets.”
The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, will forever link Malaysia and Ukraine, and the tragedy will be discussed at length when the two leaders meet.
“I believe both leaders will touch on this issue.
“My understanding is that they will also exchange views on that,” Nechytaylo said.
“As far as MH17 is concerned, I’m sure the leaders will discuss ways to engage the mechanisms of international or national laws to make sure that we will be able to prosecute those people who will be identified in the investigation report which will be ready, hopefully, by October this year.
“After that, we will be more specific on what steps should be taken by both sides.
“We just need to make sure the legal process is done properly, and then those responsible will be prosecuted.”
Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/07/161881/malaysia-ukraine-ready-ink-two-agreements-video