Abd Karim: Visit by German president hoped to change misperceptions about Malaysia


Abdul Karim (second left) and Sherrina in a photo session with The Generations advisor Aaron Kon (left) and its president Jordan Chang. — Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Feb 19): It is hoped that the recent visit by President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Sarawak would help in changing all the misperceptions associated with Malaysia being the world’s second largest palm oil producer.

This was expressed by Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah during a press conference, held after a visit to the Creatively Unique (CU) Sarawak 2023 event at Padang Merdeka here yesterday.

“The recent visit (by Steinmeier) should give another perspective about Malaysia, that it does not allow deforestation for oil palm cultivation.

“As you all know, Europe is one of those who have been hitting us hard on palm oil (issue) and all that. At least now, we hope that they would have a different outlook, especially with the Bruno Manser Organisation’s report which I believe, must have placed quite a lot of negative publicity about Sarawak,” he told reporters.

Abdul Karim also expressed hope for the visit to help provide better understanding about Sarawak’s efforts in conserving and preserving its forests.

“With its (Germany’s) own president coming to Sarawak, they should be able to understand that Sarawak is not what they say. There are many conservation efforts and policies made by Sarawak, and Sarawak does not cut down forests; instead, it has many national parks.

“Therefore, the German leader would see Sarawak from a different angle after this, as a result from his visit, with 68 business communities, to this state,” he said, adding that the visit could also help attract more tourists from Germany to come to Sarawak.

According to him, Germany is the country in Europe that records the second largest number of tourists to Sarawak, just behind the United Kingdom.

On a related matter, he said he would attend a ‘tourism market event’ in Germany soon as part of Sarawak Tourism Board (STB)’s marketing strategies.

On CU Sarawak 2023, Abdul Karim said the two-day event taking place at the Old Court House and Padang Merdeka here, recorded more than 8,000 visitors.

Organised by The Generations, CU Sarawak 2023 consisted of two programmes, the ‘Street Fashion Shows’ as well as the ‘Food Sales’ programme – all highlighting Sarawak’s young talents and their offerings.

This event was supported by the ministry, STB, Unesco Kuching City of Gastronomy, Cultural Heritage Arts Society Sarawak, and Rotary Club Urban Kuching.

Accompanying Abdul Karim was his ministry’s permanent secretary Datu Sherrina Hussaini.

Abdul Karim waves at one of the participants of CU Sarawak 2023 at Padang Merdeka. On the minister’s left is The Generations advisor Aaron Kon. — Photo by Roystein Emmor