With her tour of duty in Malaysia coming to an end, Australian High Commissioner Penny Williams can reflect with satisfaction on the strong, blossoming ties between the two countries.
Spanning trade, investment, education, defence and the socio-cultural spectrum, the bilateral bond had taken a new dimension to even benefit a third country.
"I'm extremely happy with what the two governments have achieved...happy with what we've done with Afghanistan and I think the ground is set for us to do more cooperation," said Williams who returns to Canberra at the end of March after a three-year stint.
Propelled by their long-standing relations in education, particularly in teacher training, Australia and Malaysia jointly brought some 30 teachers from Afghanistan for training here. Another 30 will be trained in the second round of the Malaysia-Australia Education Project for Afghanistan (MAEPA).
"I'm also very pleased that we have expanded the education relationship to include schools, not just universities," Williams said in an interview at the high commission in Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, a stone's throw away from the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.
Twelve Malaysian and Australian schools have been chosen for a sister school arrangement with the number expected to increase to 24.
She spoke passionately about her desire to see more Australians studying in Malaysia while encouraging Malaysians to study in Australia.
Just two days ago, Williams hosted a reception for a group of 17 Malaysian scholars and professionals who received scholarships to pursue study and professional development in Australia this year.
"Education has always been at the heart of the Australia-Malaysia bilateral relationship.
"Through education, Malaysians and Australians have come to know each other better and have created binding ties between our two communities," she added.