Kuala Lumpur, March 28, 2016 – Malaysia and the World Bank Group celebrated 58 years of partnership with the formal opening of the World Bank Group’s Office in Malaysia. The office will serve as a global knowledge and research hub.
More than 300 people from the public and private sectors and development organizations came together for the opening ceremony at the new offices at Sasana Kijang. The ceremony featured a lecture on shared prosperity by the World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu and the presentation of the first annual Young Malaysian Researcher Prize. It also included remarks by World Bank representatives, the Government of Malaysia and Bank Negara Malaysia.
“The inauguration of the World Bank hub is a signal of Malaysia's arrival on the global stage,” said Kaushik Basu, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank. “As many nations suffer because of falling global commodity prices, Malaysia stands out for having transformed itself from a poor, commodity-exporting nation to a modern, diversified economy. I hope our new office will help Malaysia take up a leadership role by becoming a hub for new ideas for Malaysia and also for the world.”
The new World Bank Group Office in Malaysia will facilitate partnerships between Malaysia and the World Bank Group, in areas such as financial intermediation and inclusion, and to support the Bank’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity
“With its successful economic and social development, Malaysia is now actively moving into a new role as a global development partner. Malaysia can support other countries in ending poverty and share lessons from its journey in becoming a regional economic powerhouse,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Vice President of Development Finance. “This new role is a natural fit for a nation in transition toward a high-income status, and a gain for the world.”
As an operational hub, the new office facilitates the sharing of Malaysia’s development experiences with countries around the world, and provides Malaysia with access to global knowledge and expertise as it transitions into an advanced, high-income economy. Innovative development policy research and analytical work will focus on regional and global issues, including assessments of the business and investment climate across countries.
"The Hub in Malaysia is another important step in the long-standing and growing relationship with the World Bank Group,” said Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar, Secretary General of the Treasury, Malaysia Ministry of Finance. “The Hub will not only provide us with on-the-ground support on our growth agenda, but will also bring our rich experience into its work with other countries."
Malaysia’s impressive economic growth performance since independence is matched by an even more impressive achievement in reducing poverty. In the past 40 years, absolute poverty declined from nearly half of Malaysia’s population to one percent of households today. Poverty reduction was driven by growth, which created jobs for people and resources for government, and by a careful focus on human capital development through investments in education and health.
“Bank Negara Malaysia is pleased to host the World Bank Group Knowledge and Research Hub in Kuala Lumpur,” said Tan Sri Dato' Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia. “This new partnership will not only bring tremendous opportunity for mutual learning and experience sharing, but reinforce the collaboration that will contribute towards the benefit of the economies in the region and beyond.”
As part of Monday’s ceremony, Tng Boon Hwa was awarded the “Young Malaysian Researcher Prize 2016” by the World Bank Development Research Group for his paper on “The Transmission of Financial Stress and Its Interactions with Monetary Policy Responses in the ASEAN-5 Economies.” Boon Hwa is the inaugural recipient of a research award to be granted annually to an early-career Malaysian.
The World Bank Group Office in Malaysia is housed in Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia’s centre of excellence in knowledge and learning in central banking and financial services, located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
On March 7, 1958, IBRD Articles of Agreement were signed by Malaya, becoming the 65th member of the Bank.