On Friday, Balázs Orbán, Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office and Parliamentary and Strategic State Secretary, spoke to the Hungarian news agency MTI from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. Mr Orbán paid a two-day official to the South East Asian country to mark the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Hungarian-Malaysian diplomatic relations.

In addition to conducting meetings with government-level, economic and university actors, together with the deputy minister of Malaysia’s ministry for culture, he opened the second Hungarian film festival in Malaysia.

Hungarian-Malaysian relations are excellent, the volume of trade between the two countries is continuously expanding, there are ever more tourists coming to Hungary from Malaysia, while the political systems of both countries are stable, and both countries generate an impressive economic growth. Following from this, for us Malaysia is one of the region’s most important countries, Mr Orbán stated.

“We believe that in the foreign investment strategy pursued by Hungary, which was identified by the Prime Minister – meaning the foreign investments of Hungarian businesses and the acquisition of business positions –, Malaysia could prove to be a good bridge head for Hungarian businesses in South East Asia with a population of some 600 million,” he said. This is underlined by the fact that several Hungarian companies are attending the Malaysia Tech Week – which is attended by start-ups aspiring to penetrate the markets of Asia from all over the world – currently under way. These businesses are conducting promising talks with partners from the region regarding business acquisition opportunities, he added.

In talks with the minister for legal affairs of the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Orbán reviewed the status of bilateral relations, and they concluded that there are overlaps between the structural changes of public law which have taken place so far and are currently under way in the two countries. After the parliamentary elections held in Malaysia last year – where the parties formerly in power for 61 years were forced into opposition, and parties formerly in opposition formed a government – fundamental changes concerning the entire legal system are being implemented, similar to those that have taken place in Hungary since 2010, Mr Orbán said. He highlighted that in these efforts the Malaysian government enjoys robust social support, similar to the government in Budapest.

The State Secretary also delivered a public lecture at the most prestigious Malaysian university (University of Malaya) organised by the Asia-Europe Institute where he spoke before an audience of journalists, researchers and university students focusing on our region about the positive processes that are currently taking place in Hungary and in the Visegrád countries. He pointed out that the region’s countries are continuously gaining in strength, have become the engine of the European Union’s economic growth, and are also playing an emphatic role in shaping the political debates regarding the future of Europe.

Concerning the Hungarian film festival in Malaysia, he said that a series of events such as this – popularising Hungarian cinematography and culture – is one of the most important means of so-called “soft diplomacy”. As part of the event organised by the Hungarian Embassy, they will show four Hungarian films in three cities over a period of two and a half weeks. At the opening ceremony, attendees had the opportunity to see the film Liza, the Fox-Fairy which has won several prestigious international awards.