KUALA LUMPUR – More Australian students are expected to further their studies in Malaysia under Australia’s New Colombo Plan, said Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
He noted that some 40,000 Malaysians were currently studying in Australian education institutions in both countries, but just a few hundred Australians were studying in Malaysia.
“As of next year, I am pleased to say that Malaysia has agreed to host New Colombo Plan students from Australia. I hope that in the years ahead, the few hundred would be a few thousand Australians studying in Malaysia.
“…It is a one-way traffic (before this), it’s now time for the traffic to be two-way,” he said in his brief remarks at the afternoon tea and education reception here Saturday.
Abbott is on a one-day official visit to Malaysia, his first since becoming prime minister on Sept 18, last year.
At a joint press conference with Abbott earlier today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia had formally accepted Australia’s invitation to participate in its New Colombo Plan.
The plan 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.
Abbott described Malaysia as an “inspirational place” for the students to come and learn.
“(Malaysia) is a tolerant, peaceful, open, prosperous, multicultural Islamic society. What an inspirational place for Australian students who will come here and learn, not just at the institutions where they study but also from society.
“Thank you, for being prepared to welcome more Australian students. I’m confident that it would be good for them, good for Australia, Malaysia and all of us…it will help us build a brighter future,” said the Australian leader. – Bernama