KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Seri Panglima Yong Teck Lee has urged the Malaysian government to address three main priorities during China President Xi Jinping’s visit to Sabah in October, namely to establish a Chinese consulate, a China-based bank and a Confucius centre in Sabah.
The former chief minister said the fulfilment of the three requests would be a win-win situation for both countries as it would enhance tourism, commerce, trade and education between both countries.
He stressed on the urgency of setting up a Chinese consulate and a branch of a China bank here to facilitate tourists’ visit to both countries, as well as for businesses to conduct trading between Malaysia and China.
“The establishment of the consulate and the bank, and eventually the Confucius centre, will also increase the number of China students in Sabah, hence benefiting Sabah’s economy and development,” he said in a press statement issued yesterday.
Yong said the Confucius centre was not an institute to preach Confucianism, but rather to function in a similar way as that of the British Council of the United Kingdom.
There are hundreds of Confucius centres globally, including one in Kuala Lumpur that was set up four years ago, which was relatively unknown to Malaysians, he said.
“The Confucius centre can help to enhance and increase mutually beneficial educational activities, not only in the Chinese language but also in science, technology and media,” he said.
On another note, Yong credited the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Xi’s official visit to Malaysia from October 4-6, of which half of the time would be spent in Sabah.
Yong said it was obvious that China had high regard for the potential of a Malaysia-China relations, particularly Sabah.
“This is the first time that the highest ranking official of a major country, including China, will visit Sabah,” he said.
Hence, Yong hoped that the visit by Xi would not be wasted on rhetorical ‘mutual cooperation and friendship’ without leading to real results that could bring tangible benefits to Malaysians, particularly Sabahans.