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From Malaysia to Canada: Henry Lee’s Love for His Home Country


From Malaysia to Canada: Henry Lee’s Love for His Home Country

25 April 2024

From Malaysia to Canada: Henry Lee’s Love for His Home Country

After over 40 years of residing in Toronto, Henry Lee’s passion for promoting Malaysia is still as alive as ever. In our conversation with the Honorary Consul and Chairman of the Malaysian Association of Canada (MAC), he shares some insight on the importance of promoting good relations between countries and nurturing relationships amongst the local communities of Malaysians living abroad.

Henry has been involved with the MAC since its conception in 2001. The organisation aims to bring Malaysians residing in Canada and Canadians together through educational, social, cultural and economic activities, promote the interests of its members and foster Malaysian-Canadian understanding and cooperation. The MAC also acts as a voice for Malaysians residing in Canada with its ties to the Police Department of Toronto and the Canadian federal, provincial and city governments.

As an Honorary Consul, Henry promotes business opportunities and the Malaysian image in Canada by encouraging friendship and good relations between Malaysia and Canada. He also supports the Malaysian community in Canada by helping with tasks such as renewing their passports and any other aid that they may need.


The power of building good relationships

The relationships between Malaysia and other countries can affect business opportunities and Malaysia’s economy. As Henry mentions, with Malaysia recently signing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), free trade between Canada and Malaysia will be made easier as 95% of tariffs between the countries will be reduced. He states, that with the removal of tariffs, there will be great opportunities for Canadian businesses to set up operations in Malaysia.


Malaysia as a standout business partner

Most Malaysians speak English well, making it easier to communicate internationally. Additionally, we adapt to different cultures quickly as we live in a multicultural society from a young age. Malaysia also shares similar law systems to Canada, having both been ruled by Britain at some point in their history. All these similarities make it easier to form good relations and in Malaysia’s case, makes the country an easy choice for international relations as both the country and the people are very adaptable to other cultures and economies.

Henry has certainly done a great job in his role as an Honorary Consul and Chairman to make the Malaysian presence known in Canada over the years. Having done so much for the Malaysian economy from over 12,000 kilometres away, his story is a prime example of how the diaspora can contribute back to their country directly and in a meaningful way even whilst living abroad. This begs the question of what regular Malaysians living abroad can do to support their nation from wherever they are.


To quote Henry: “The Malaysian diaspora are the best ambassadors for Malaysia.”

Malaysians living abroad can promote the image of their home country by keeping up-to-date with local news and events and continuing to spread the word about Malaysian culture. They can also make an effort to gather Malaysians in their communities, keeping Malaysians abroad connected to their roots and aiding to ease the feeling of homesickness.

This is the essence of what the Malaysia @ Heart or MyHeart platform aims to achieve. MyHeart strives to help Malaysians abroad find and connect with other Malaysians in their areas to form their local Malaysian communities. Not only can you find Malaysians in your area, but you can also connect with Malaysians from many different countries worldwide and organisations such as the MAC near you.

As we talk to Henry, Toronto is in the middle of another cold winter season. And though he has settled down in Canada, he states that he will always be a Malaysian at heart. He expresses longing and fondness for Malaysia’s overall ‘warmth’, from the weather to the people and their smiles.

If you are a Malaysian Association abroad, head over to MyHeart to register your association and be part of a large global Malaysian network.