Foreign Minister Julie Bishop today announced Mr Rod Smith PSM as Australia's next High Commissioner to Malaysia. He is expected to take up his appointment in January 2014, replacing Mr Miles Kupa.
Australia's relationship with Malaysia is built on deep and long-standing connections forged through education, defence, trade, investment and tourism. Australia and Malaysia also cooperate in a wide range of regional and multilateral organisations.
Malaysia is Australia's third largest trading partner in ASEAN and our ninth largest partner overall. In 2012, two-way goods and services trade was worth $17.7 billion. The Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect this year, is a significant milestone and a catalyst for expanding the trade and investment relationship.
Education underpins the relationship, with some 20,000 Malaysians studying in Australia and a further 20,000 pursuing Australian qualifications in Malaysia. The New Colombo Plan is expected to see a significant rise in the number of Australians studying in Malaysia in the future.
Mr Smith is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He has previously served as Ambassador to the Philippines; Counsellor at the Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York; and as First Secretary in Seoul.
Before taking on his current role as First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Management Division, Mr Smith was head of the South-East Asia Division. He has also been head of the Consular, Public Diplomacy and Parliamentary Affairs Division; and Assistant Secretary of the Consular and the International Organisations Branches.
Mr Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts from the Australian National University. He was awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) in January 2007.
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