The Star Malaysia - Star2
Jinping’s visit to further bolster ties between nations
CHINESE President Xi Jinping’s visit here will further boost the strong friendship between both nations and ignite the interest among Chinese nationals to learn more about Malaysia.
Malaysia-China Friendship Association (PPMC) president Datuk Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan said the state visit of the Chinese leader was significant to Malaysia as he had assumed office not too long ago.
(Xi took over from Hu Jintao as the president in March.)
“The visit to Malaysia during his early presidency shows the strong ties between both countries. As visits by Chinese leaders like Xi are widely covered by the Chinese media, it will certainly generate a lot of positive awareness of Malaysia among the Chinese people,” he said.
This, he said, would translate into tourist arrival figures for Malaysia.
Abdul Majid, who was the Malaysian Ambassador to China between 1998 and 2005, recalled that the scenic Langkawi island was promoted in a similar way when former Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji visited it in 2002.
“Because of the news broadcast of the trip, many China nationals then became intrigued to visit the island,” he said.
He said both Malaysia and China had already shared close peopleto-people ties with their many collaborations between students and business associations.
“There are about 10,000 students from China in Malaysia and we would like this number to increase.
“We get to know each other via activities such as dance and cultural shows jointly organised by the Chinese and Malaysian students,” he said.
He cited the collaboration between the Chinese and SouthEast Asian students in organising a summer camp for the first time in August as a good example.
According to him, there are 150 Malaysian students pursuing Chinese as a teaching language at the Beijing Foreign Studies University in China.
The students will then come back to Malaysia to teach the language.
Not only Mandarin course, about 4,000 to 5,000 Malaysians are also pursuing studies in other courses such as traditional Chinese medicine, mass communication, business administration and IT throughout China.
As for business exchange, Abdul Majid said that the PPMC had helped facilitate meetings for Chinese entrepreneurs who wanted to introduce businesses from their provinces to Malaysia.
“We help introduce these businessmen to the right people, including those from the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce,” he said.
Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Sino-Malaysia diplomatic relations and this could be seen as a milestone achievement for the people from both nations.
On ways to take the special ties further, Abdul Majid said there should be more engagement by both nations in the education, research and science and industrial sectors.
“Similarly, like how Malaysia has student exchanges with Japan, we should have more of such programmes with China whereby students stay at an adoptive family’s home,” he said.
Sporting events like football tournaments could also be held for youths from both nations.
“There should also be more ‘sister city’ relationships between Malaysia and China so that both can learn from one another and progress together,” he added.
“More cities should link up as sister cities in the interest of economic development. Currently, Penang and Xiamen share such close sister city ties,” he said.
In 2007, a road in the Wu Yuan Wan development district in Xiamen in China’s Fujian province was named after Penang.
There have been calls from coun- cillors and assemblymen to do the same by naming a road in Penang after the southern Chinese city.
Another twin cities established are Malacca and Nanjing in Jiangsu province because of their historical link. During the Ming dynasty, Chinese admiral Zheng He set sail from Nanjing and established ties with the Sultanate of Malacca on his extensive voyage.
Other Malaysian-Sino friendship cities are Ipoh-Wenzhou and KlangYiwu.
Abdul Majid said Malaysia and China share similarities as both nations were undergoing a transformation.
“While we have opened up to the world earlier compared to China, China has grown immensely. Nevertheless, we share the same dream for greater wealth and a better life for our citizens,” he said.
“We welcome Xi with open arms and hope that his visit will continue to encourage the trust and bond developed between Malaysia and China.”