PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak says French President François Hollande’s state visit has boosted the already strong bond between both nations. KL and Paris pledge to join forces to fight terrorism, with Hollande appreciating Malaysia's moderation a
PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said Malaysia and France’s bilateral ties had endured the test of time and French President François Hollande’s two-day state visit had further bolstered the bond between both nations.
“We have known each other for a long time and have close bilateral relations in so many areas.
“I am confident the relationship will not only endure the test of time, but, in fact, will get deeper and stronger in years to come,” he said in a joint press conference with Hollande yesterday.
The most significant part of the two countries’ relationship, he said, had always been in defence and security.
“Malaysia is a big procurer of French military equipment and part of our discussions revolved around the possibility of acquiring French defence equipment,” he said.
Najib said both countries would continue to join forces in the fight against militancy, extremism and global terrorism.
“I have shared with Hollande our experiences here and the challenges we have faced. I have also presented a copy of the (Integrated) Deradicalisation Module (for Terrorist), which has yielded a success rate of 95 per cent.
“This is Malaysia’s contribution, in addition to our efforts to establish the Regional Digital Counter Messaging Centre (RDC3) and Global Movement of Moderates (GMM).
“We believe that moderation is the key principle to adopt and that will be our answer to the growing influence of militancy and extremism,” he said.
Various other areas of cooperation, Najib said, were also raised in his meeting with Hollande, including in tourism, human capital development and international and regional issues of common interests for both Malaysia and France.
The prime minister described his meeting with Hollande and the French delegation as a productive one.
Hollande, speaking through an interpreter, said he was the second French president to visit Malaysia since the first visit by Jacques Chirac 14 years ago.
“I came here to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries.”
France, he added, was keen to form stronger ties with Malaysia in many fields, including trade.
He said such interests were obvious based on the number of company representatives that had travelled with him to Malaysia for the two-day state visit, starting from Monday.
“Small and large companies, they all came... We know we could do more because Malaysia is developing so quickly,” he said.
France is Malaysia’s 18th largest trading partner, with total trade last year valued at RM15.23 billion.
The French president echoed Najib’s view on the importance of upholding security, especially against terrorism and fanaticism.
“Malaysia is a country that embodies moderation, pluralism and tolerance. We share the same goal. We want to tackle fanaticism and promote the way of life — living together.
“France, as you know, is very supportive of freedom of religion of anyone living in our country. It is about living together.
“I thank Malaysia for its cooperation and role as a member of the United Nations Security Council, where you have provided constant support to France.”
Earlier, Hollande and Najib witnessed the signing of two letters of intent — in defence between the Malaysian and French governments, and on sustainable agriculture landscapes in Southeast Asia between the Centre for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (Cirad) and Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Both leaders also witnessed agreement review between the two governments on exchanged and classified information in defence cooperation.
The French president also had a busy day yesterday, starting with a state welcoming ceremony at the Parliament Square where he was given a 21-gun salute, and inspected the guard of honour mounted by the Army’s Royal Malay Regiment,
He also visited 22 Squadron of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Subang Jaya to view the newest member of the RMAF’s A400M fleet, serialled M54-04.
RMAF had purchased four A400M for 22 Squadron from France-based aircraft manufacturer Airbus, and the first aircraft was delivered on March 13, 2015.
Later in the afternoon, Hollande visited the Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur, where he witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Paris’s Guimet Museum of Asian Art and Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia to hold an exhibition in 2019.
In the evening, Hollande had an audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V, followed by a state banquet at Istana Negara. He left for Jakarta last night. Page 1 pic: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with French President François Hollande at the Perdana Putra Complex in Putrajaya yesterday.
MALAYSIA and France yesterday signed several agreements to enhance collaborations in energy efficiency, solar power generation and innovation, among others.
In the morning, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and French President Francois Hollande witnessed the signing of five business-to-business memoranda of understanding (MoUs).
After a luncheon hosted by Mustapa, there was the signing of two MoUs and one letter of intent, witnessed by Mustapa and Christophe Sirugue, the French Minister of State for Industry, Digital Sector and Innovation.
The Malaysian companies that signed MoUs included Sime Darby Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, InvestKL, and PlaTCOM Ventures Sdn Bhd.
“Our partnership (with ENGIE Group) paves the way for greater collaboration in the solar and integrated facilities management space,” said Sime Darby president and group chief executive Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh in a statement.
“With a combination of technical expertise and deep understanding of the Malaysian market, we believe this partnership will enable us to significantly expand into these sectors,” he added.
Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) and Talent Corporation Malaysia Bhd also signed agreements with Business France, the national agency responsible for fostering export growth by French businesses as well as promoting and facilitating international investment in the country.
“My officials and I have held continuous engagements with French companies in Malaysia. Thus far, we had a few sessions with French businesses. These are important for us to continuously facilitate doing business in the country,” said Mustapa in a statement.
Speaking to the media after the signing ceremonies, Mustapa said Malaysia was drawing interest from large economic powers such as Saudi Arabia, China and now France, which has helped to maintain its place in the international investor radar.
The investing community’s interest had also lifted the profile of Malaysia in various economic sectors, he added.
“This is a reflection of the confidence foreign companies have regarding Malaysia. FDIs (foreign direct investments) are set to increase,” he said.
Mustapa said there were 270 French companies in the country with cumulative investments of RM15 billion in sectors including manufacturing, services and finance.
France was Malaysia’s 18th largest global trading partner last year with total trade rising by 6.3 per cent to RM15.23 billion.
In terms of investment, France is the fifth largest investor in the manufacturing sector with cumulative RM11.19 billion in investments, led by ST Microelectronic and Lafarge.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with French President François Hollande at a state banquet at Istana Negara yesterday. With them are Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Najib’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Tenaga Nasional Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Seri Ir Azman Mohd (seated left) and EDF Southeast Asia director Jean-Christophe Philbe signing the memorandum of understanding in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, witnessed by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (left) and French President Francois Hollande. Page 1 pic: International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (second left) and France President Francois Hollande witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Engie Group deputy managing director Didier Holleaux (right) and Sime Darby industrial division executive vice-president Scott Cameron in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.