KUCHING: The Tourism Ministry hopes that the plan to have direct flights between Kuching and Shenzhen, China will be realised in May this year to boost the tourism industry of both cities.
Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said with the three times a week direct flights, the state can attract more tourists from China, thus strengthening the ties between the two countries.
“China has emerged as one of the economic powerhouses of the world and soon it may overtake the United States of America’s economy, which is currently the number one economic powerhouse in the world.
“They had also contributed a lot to the economic development of Sarawak and Malaysia as a whole. With the direct flights from Kuching to Szhenzhen, and from Shenzhen to Kuching, it would further benefit both cities in both countries in terms of social and economic developments,” he said at the Kuching Hockien Association Chinese New Year dinner held at the Christian Ecumenical Centre here on Tuesday.
Abang Johari, who is also Housing Minister, mentioned that Malaysia recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations with China, and that both countries had achieved tourism, economic and cultural progress.
With the strong bilateral ties between the countries, he said it is important to master the Mandarin language. “Because more parents are aware of the importance of the Mandarin language, you can easily see a lot of Bumiputera and Malay students studying in Chung Hua (or Chinese-medium) schools.
“It would be a great advantage if you can master the Mandarin language, and also the international language, which is English,” he said.
On a separate matter, he urged Sarawakians not to import negative cultures that could break apart the state’s racial and religious harmony, prosperity and political stability.
He noted that the 1Malaysia concept has long existed in the state, where communities of different races and religions live together in peace and harmony with each other.
He also mentioned that there was no controversy over the use of ‘Allah’ in the state.
“We put our energy to develop our society and the state and nothing else. Let us all maintain our peace and harmony here,” he added.
Citing an example, he said the Chin San Temple in Muara Tebas Village is proof of tolerance and respect among the Chinese and Malays, where while Buddhist devotees perform their prayers the Malay villagers will look after their vehicles.
Assistant Minister of Communication Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Chinese Consul-General in Kuching Liu Chuan, honorary presidents of Hockien Association Datuk Seri Tay Thian Siong
and Dr Chou Chii Meng, president Richard Wee and deputy president Michael Teo were among those attending the dinner.