Ipoh Echo had an exclusive one-on-one with His Excellence Andrew Goledzinowski AM, Australia’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, whose appointment was announced in November 2017, after outgoing High Commissioner Rod Smith PSM.
The noon tete-a-tete with the affable Goledzinowski was held on Friday, June 8 at Burps & Giggles Cafe, Ipoh.
“This is only week 16 for me in Malaysia, so everything is still new and exciting. I am in Ipoh for the first time too,” he enthused.
Hailing from Sydney, Goledzinowski is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was most recently Ambassador for People Smuggling and Human Trafficking. He has previously served overseas as Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York and at the Australian Embassies in Geneva, Port Vila and Pretoria.
Goledzinowski was an Adviser and Senior Adviser to Foreign Ministers Gareth Evans and Alexander Downer, and has served as Chief of Staff to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as the Senior Australian Official in the Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad and as the World Bank’s representative in Iraq. He holds a Bachelor of Jurisprudence and a Bachelor of Law from the University of New South Wales and is a Member of the Order of Australia.
For the annual memorial service in Perak, he explained its significance, “It’s a big deal for us because the Malayan Emergency was Australia’s longest war until the war in Afghanistan. It involved over 7000 Australian servicemen, men and women, and 39 of them died here. Most of that happened in and around Perak, the epicentre of the insurgency warfare. To mark the 70th anniversary, we’ve now commissioned a scroll of honour to be placed in the High Commission which will have the names and unit details of all those who fell.”
The Aussie veterans attending the remembrance ceremony here are getting older year by year. Goledzinowski, whose father was a World War II veteran, commented, “They are getting older but are still coming every year, they are very impressive. What we found is, in Australia, as the old ones passed away, the young ones still continue to remember those events. The memory is still held closely. We find that every year there seems to be more and more young Australians who want to go to Gallipoli to commemorate Anzac Day so I’m confident that this too will be remembered.”
Australia helps to fund the maintenance of Perak war graves, including the ones in Taiping and Batu Gajah, through its contributions to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
“Since the change of government, I’ve met with Tun Dr Mahathir and Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Both were very good meetings and they emphasised that they want to maintain and grow the good relationship between Malaysia and Australia. In fact, I think now that Malaysia has become more democratic, the opportunities are going to grow,” said the Sydneysider.
“My vision is that Australia and Malaysia become natural partners as we have so many similarities. Think about it, both countries have constitutional monarchy, British common law system, similar military and police traditions, open trading policies, are about the same size, multi-ethnic and our history is connected in so many ways,” he highlighted.
“I’ve had many very distinguished predecessors as high commissioners here but I don’t think any of them have been here at such an exciting time as I have been so I’m very, very lucky,” he concluded.
The Australian High Commission is located at 6 Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, 50450 Kuala Lumpur. For more updates, follow Goledzinowski’s official Twitter account: @AusHCMalaysia.