Penny Wong stresses ‘genuine links’ with South-East Asia as she visits Vietnam, Malaysia

Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s visit to South-East Asia this week has a much more personal element than the usual bilateral talks with regional government ministers and officials.

Senator Wong leaves Vietnam this morning for Malaysia, on her first visit to both countries since she was sworn in as Foreign Minister last month.

But her trip to Malaysia will include a side visit to her hometown — the regional capital of Sabah province on the island of Borneo.

Kota Kinabalu is where Senator Wong was born and started school, and where she lived with her parents until she migrated to Australia with her mother and another brother at the age of eight.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong stands with her brother at a barbecue
Foreign Minister Penny Wong with her brother James.(Supplied: James Wong via The Star)

After official talks and meetings in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, she will make an overnight visit to Kota Kinabalu where she will visit her old school and meet local leaders, including alumni of Australian universities.

Family members in Sabah say they are excited and proud about Senator Wong’s special “homecoming” as Australia’s new Foreign Minister.

Her younger brother James, who still lives in Sabah, says they are planning a small family get-together once the senator finishes her official events tomorrow evening.

Leave a Comment