KOTA KINABALU: The spirit of Merdeka lives on even in China when the Consul General of Malaysia to Guangzhou, Beh Ching Chye hosted the 2018 National Day reception on September 5.
The event was held at Shangri-La Hotel, Guangzhou with more than 600 guests comprising local government leaders and officials, members of consular corps, Malaysians and friends of Malaysia.
Li Chunsheng, the Vice Governor of Guangdong Province, was the guest of honour.
Li in his speech said that China-Malaysia relations is in a new and important historical position after Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad visited China and met with President Xi Jinping last month.
Li noted that China and Malaysia are the backbones of Asia’s rise and are important development partners. It is believed that under the joint leadership of the leaders of the two countries, China-Malaysia relations will reach a new and higher level.
“In recent years, Guangdong and Malaysia have maintained good cooperation. The friendly relations in economy, trade, culture, tourism and local exchanges have continued to deepen. In 2017 the total import and export volume of Guangdong and Malaysia reached 182.5 billion yuan, ranking first in ASEAN countries and accounting for one quarter of China-Malaysia bilateral trade.”
Therefore, Li hoped that Guangdong could participate in the “new Malaysia” journey, deepen strategic cooperation, share development experience, strengthen industry and innovation cooperation.
During Consul General Beh’s speech, he highlighted the warm and cordial bilateral relations enjoyed by China and Malaysia.
“The reception is also held to celebrate the 44th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China.”
He said China has always been a close friend and important partner of Malaysia. Malaysia is ready to work with China to further strengthen the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership which had been adopted by both countries in 2013.
Malaysia also welcomes, supports and will continue to actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative.
“Today, the good relations between Malaysia and China still continues, encompassing all aspects especially in the field of trade, investment, exchanges at all levels, tourism, culture, education and so forth. Malaysia would like to learn from China’s successful developmental experience, to boost innovation and achieve greater development for the country,” Beh said.
He said it is particularly true from the perspective of Malaysia and Guangdong relations whereby the close friendship continues to be fostered today.
“For example, the frequent exchanges of high-level visits between leaders from Malaysia and Guangdong, Fujian, Hainan and Jiangxi reflect the importance and priority attach by both sides to our existing relations,” he added.
“On the economic front, Guangdong is an important trade partner and source of foreign investment for Malaysia. It is worth mentioning that the total trade between Malaysia and Guangdong in 2017 exceeded USD32.5 billion. This accounts to a quarter of the overall bilateral trade figure between Malaysia and China for that particular year, Beh pointed out.
Among the notable guests present at the reception were Zeng Kai Zhang, Deputy Secretary General of Guangzhou Municipal People’s Government; Dr Oh Ei Sun, president of the Sabah Mazhong Friendship Association and its secretary-general, Steven Liaw.
Dr Oh pointed out that under the general favorable conditions of cordial relations between China and Malaysia for many years, the all-round exchanges between Sabah and Guangdong have been carried forward positively too.
“The close ties between Sabah and China in the two countries and the two states (provinces) enable Ma Zhong Sabah to continue to cooperate with the relevant authorities of the two places to develop the civil society exchange roles of the peoples.”
In addition, he said that Ma Zhong Sabah has also signed a memorandum of friendship and cooperation with the Guangdong Public Diplomacy Association, the Hangzhou People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Jiangxi Overseas Exchange Association, the Ningxia Autonomous Region Overseas Exchange Association, and the Shanxi Overseas Exchange Association to strengthen the multi-field of the two places.
In addition, the association was also appointed as the “Sichuan Overseas Window” by the Sichuan Overseas Exchange Association, he said.
A cultural performance by traditional dance troupe Kumpulan Briged Seni Melaka, or The Art Grigade of Malacca won loud applause from the guests.
Malaysian chef Mior Sazali bin Mat Ali captivated the guests with his teh tarik skills. Varieties of Malaysian cuisines prepared by two Malaysian chefs were served and the lively event ended at 8pm.