EN­DUR­ING TIES

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

New Straits Times - - Front Page - AZURA ABAS AND HASHINI KAVISHTRI KANNAN PU­TRA­JAYA news@nst.com.my

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.

BER­NAMA PIC

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.

BER­NAMA PIC PIC BY SAIRIEN NAFIS

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.

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