PUTRAJAYA, Nov 1 (Bernama) — Malaysia will get expertise from the Netherlands to improve its flood mitigation system in an effort to overcome the problem of annual floods, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Speaking to reporters after receiving a courtesy call from Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at Seri Perdana here today, Anwar said the expert assistance from the Netherlands could reduce Malaysia’s flood management expenditure, which runs into billions of ringgit every year.

 “I explained the need to improve the requirements of rivers, including in Johor, Selangor and Pahang, to tackle the flooding we face every year.

“I also explained to him that of late our expenditure on floods has hit RM15 billion. Rutte said with the availability of expertise and new technology, maybe the cost need not be high,” he said, adding that Rutte gave an assurance to speed up the dispatch of expertise to Malaysia.

Anwar said he had asked Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir to follow up on the cooperation, including expediting the arrival process of the Dutch expert team.

On a separate matter, Anwar said Malaysia had agreed to conduct excavation and recovery works for old sunken ships, including Dutch-owned vessels, in the country’s territorial waters based on set conditions.

“Although in Malaysian waters, they are Dutch ships. We can step up cooperation in this area based on stipulated conditions as was done before,” he added.

Anwar also said Malaysia and the Netherlands had agreed to strengthen the semiconductor industry as well as the digital and artificial intelligence (AI) fields involving the two countries.

“He agreed that the Netherlands is one of the countries having specific policies on semiconductors. We (Malaysia) have policies promoting private-sector participation.

“We can cooperate with the Netherlands to tap into their experience in the aspect of direct government participation in promoting and intensifying efforts in the semiconductor industry, and they can use our experience on industry participation, especially the private sector, in this field,” Anwar said.

In 2022, the Netherlands was Malaysia’s 14th largest trading partner and the second biggest in the European Union (EU), with trade totalling RM48.04 billion (US$10.93 billion), a 33.4 per cent increase over the RM36.01 billion (US$8.68 billion) in 2021.

The Netherlands is also the biggest importer of Malaysian palm oil among EU countries with a total volume of 732,324.54 tonnes.


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