On November 15, 2018, the first meeting of the Joint Steering Committee for Cooperation on Sino-Malaysian Water Resources Management was convened in Beijing. Jiang Xuguang, Vice Minister of Water Resources, and Tan Yew Chong, Secretary-general of Malaysian Ministry of Water, Land and Natural Resources, delivered addresses at the meeting. The two parties signed the Work Regulations of the Joint Steering Committee for Cooperation on Sino-Malaysian Water Resources Management.
Jiang Xuguang conveyed welcome to his colleagues from Malaysia. He pointed out that China and Malaysia had built a close friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership. In 2017, the two ministries signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of Malaysia on Cooperation in the Field of Water Resources, and reached consensus on the work mechanism of the Joint Steering Committee for Cooperation on Sino-Malaysian Water Resources Management, which is bound to guide, advance and coordinate the Sino-Malaysian cooperation on water resources management. The cooperation on water resources management, as an important component in Sino-Malaysian cooperation, is expected to become a prominent highlight in the bilateral cooperation through the joint concerted efforts.
Jiang Xuguang emphasized that China’s water issues used to be related to the fight against floods and droughts. Along with economic and social development, water shortage, ecological degradation and water environmental pollution have turned to be the common problems. In the new era, China sees a profound change in water governance that has been shifting from emphasizing mitigation of flood and drought disasters and construction of water structures for satisfying water demand, and highlighted protection of water ecology and environment with more strict supervision over water development and utilization. Under this context, China proposes the guidelines for water governance as overcoming weak points of lacking effective water structural measures and strengthening supervision and monitoring of the water sector from now on to a period to come.
Jiang Xuguang highlighted that, although China and Malaysia have different national conditions and in particular water conditions, both countries face the same challenge of supporting economic and social development by sustainable utilization of water resources. Adhering to the water management principle of “prioritizing water conservation, balancing spatial distribution, taking systematic approaches and giving full play to the roles of both government and market”, China should draw on the success experiences and best practices of other countries. China is willing to share her experiences with Malaysia, and make joint efforts to cope with challenges brought by climate change and requirements for social and economic development. He indicated that China and Malaysia should enhance cooperation on top-layer design and guarding principle for water management, identify the areas for water cooperation, encourage technical exchanges among experts, and tap into commercial cooperation, so as to contribute to Sino-Malaysian cooperation in pursuing the “Belt and Road Initiative” and consolidating the Sino-Malaysian comprehensive strategic partnership.
Tan Yew Chong introduced water development goals and management policies in Malaysia. He noted that the new administration of Malaysia has restructured water management functions, improved the setup of related competent departments, and strengthened integrated management of water resources, which shall bring good opportunities for Sino-Malaysian in-depth cooperation on water resources management. Malaysia hopes to implement, via the Joint Steering Committee for Cooperation on Sino-Malaysian Water Resources Management, the intergovernmental memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of water resources, further the exchanges on experiences and technologies in water resources management, and promote pragmatic cooperation between the two countries.
During the meeting, the experts from two sides held discussion on policies regarding water resources management and prevention of floods and droughts, and made proposals for future cooperation.
Also present at the meeting were the personnel from relevant departments and bureaus of the Ministry of Water Resources, river basin organizations, research institutes and some enterprises.