Cambodia and Malaysia have reaffirmed close diplomatic and economic ties forged over six decades, while also jointly reiterating their intentions to uphold the ASEAN five-point consensus (5PC) and encourage Myanmar to implement them promptly in order to restore peace and stability to the country.

The position was expressed during a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Malaysian counterpart Ismail Sabri Yaakob during the latter’s visit to Cambodia from February 23-24, according to a joint statement.

“Both leaders exchanged views in a frank and candid manner on regional and international issues of common interest and concerns such as the Myanmar issue, South China Sea, and geopolitical rivalry among major powers,” it read.

It added that Malaysia expressed full support for the work of the ASEAN special envoy on Myanmar – Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn – and said it looks forward to his first visit to the predominantly Buddhist country.

During his meeting with Hun Sen, Ismail Sabri also raised the issue of displaced persons from Myanmar’s Rakhine State, including the Rohingya people. He reiterated the importance of addressing the root causes of the conflict and repatriation of the ethnic minority in a voluntary, safe and dignified manner.

The Malaysian premier said his country supports Cambodia in its efforts as ASEAN chair and backs special envoy Sokhonn in his attempts to resolve the Myanmar issue.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Malaysian counterpart Ismail Sabri Yaakob speak during a joint press conference at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. SPM

“Malaysia is of the view that Myanmar is a friend, a neighbouring country and an important member of ASEAN [and] we want to see Myanmar return to normalcy. We want to see Myanmar achieve development and prosperity for their people and the country with harmony.”

Ismail Sabri called the 5PC “very important” as it is a “map” to solve the Myanmar issue, and called on all sides to jointly implement it effectively.

On bilateral relations, Hun Sen and Ismail Sabri expressed satisfaction with the close relations, strong bonds of friendship, and mutually beneficial cooperation in a number of areas between their countries over the last 65 years.

“Both nations will enhance engagements at every level, and forge closer people-to-people relations to deepen understanding and friendship between the two sides,” the joint statement said.

Both leaders added that they were committed to strengthening cooperation in the development of various sectors including human resource, sustainable technology, as well as the labour, digital and green economies.

Speaking in a joint press conference after the meeting, Hun Sen said he was “optimistic” that both countries will continue to work closely to solve challenges in the region “effectively” to strengthen ASEAN solidarity for the sake of peace and prosperity of the bloc and the world.