Friday, October 7, 2011


Saturday October 01, 2011





Assalamualaikum W.B.T, Good Evening and Salam 1Malaysia.

His Excellency David Pine,
New Zealand High Commissioner to Malaysia;

Mr. Richard Tankenserly,
Chairman of the Malaysia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce;

Members of the Malaysia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce;

Distinguished Guests.

1. Thank you for inviting me tonight and I would firstly like to convey Minister Mustapa’s apology for his absence as he is currently away on an official visit to Europe. I am indeed delighted to be sharing the floor with the rest of the members of the Malaysia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, or MNZCC and to address you tonight on your 19th Anniversary of New Zealand Annual Dinner and Dance.

2. As we will all be entertained by New Zealand’s finest singers and entertainers, The Kiwi All Stars, I will not bore you with a long speech and instead try to keep things short and simple.

3. Firstly, let me congratulate the MNZCC on its 19th anniversary. Indeed, the Chamber has been actively contributing in enhancing bilateral trade and economic ties between Malaysia and New Zealand since its establishment in 1992. For this, I must commend all the members of MNZCC for setting a track record other business councils here in Malaysia will find challenging to emulate.

Honourable Guests,

4. The Malaysia-New Zealand bilateral relationship has always been good. It is underpinned significantly by the commercial and people-to-people links, in which our business councils are so often involved.

5. Apart from a small aberration arising from the world wide economic slowdown in 2009, the state of the bilateral trade and economic relations between our two countries remain strong. Our bilateral trade enjoyed an average growth rate of 11.2% between 2000 and 2010. From January to July 2011 alone, bilateral trade which was valued at US$1.1 billion increased 5.8% over the corresponding period in 2010. And, this is expected to be further boosted following the implementation of the Malaysia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (MNZFTA) which came into force on 1 August 2010.

6. From 2007 until July 2011, a total of 38 manufacturing projects are approved with participation from New Zealand, valued at US$75.8 million. As at 31st December 2010, a total of 26 manufacturing projects were implemented with total investments of US$34.7 million. New Zealand companies which have significant investments in Malaysia cover a wide variety of sectors, including food/food technology, ICT and telecommunications, electronics, software, information technology, and building products. Malaysia welcomes more New Zealand projects to be established here in Malaysia.

Distinguished Guests,

7. Food is usually a fond subject of discussion as you would notice in Malaysia due to the cultural and culinary diversity. In March this year, Malaysia participated in the International Cultural Festival 2011 (AICF) at Mount Roskill War Memorial Park, Auckland where we promoted the Malaysia Kitchen programme in New Zealand. This programme under the auspices of MATRADE is aimed at promoting Malaysian restaurants overseas including those in the USA and in UK. We promote better awareness and demand for Malaysian cuisine through an integrated, holistic and multi-pronged approach working with the restaurant operators.

8. I am sure most of you would have experienced, or at least have sampled some of the popular and varied Malaysian favourites such as Nasi Lemak, Satay, Laksa, Teh Tarik, Mee Curry, Roti Canai and other dishes like rendang and for the more adventurous, several other exotic and exquisite Malay, Nonya and a host of ethnic or regional specialties. Malaysia Kitchen operators offer an array of Malaysian menu from simple quick meals to fine dining to our overseas clientele. Presently, there are approximately 200 Malaysian Kitchen Restaurants all over the world.

9. There are 47 Malaysia Kitchen Restaurants operating in New Zealand, to be precise, 20 Restaurants in Wellington and 27 Restaurants in Auckland. We are hoping that our New Zealand friends would visit some of the Malaysia Kitchen Restaurants in New Zealand.

10. I also would like to take this opportunity to urge the New Zealand business community here to participate in the upcoming International Trade Malaysia (INTRADE 2011) which will be held in Kuala Lumpur on 22nd until 24th November 2011. In 2010, INTRADE attracted more than 8,000 trade visitors from 77 countries with sales of RM 4.2 billion recorded. INTRADE 2011 presents a unique platform for New Zealand participating companies to enhance their networking and business development given the international exposure.

Honourable Guests,

11. People-to-people relations between our two countries especially in the areas of education and tourism are doing extremely well. More than 30,000 Malaysians had received their education in the various colleges and universities in New Zealand. Today, there are approximately 2,305 Malaysian students pursuing their tertiary education in New Zealand. We welcome more New Zealand nationals to pursue post graduate studies and training in our tertiary institutions.

12. The number of tourists from New Zealand visiting Malaysia has also been increasing, from 63,000 in 2009 to slightly more than 66,000 in 2010. The most significant achievement in our bilateral tourism cooperation was the launch of Air Asia X in Christchurch on 2 April 2011. Air Asia X, currently has 4 return-flights a week between Kuala Lumpur and Christchurch. This invariably will increase the exchange of tourist and business travel in a significant way.

Distinguished Guests,

13. In closing, I would like to thank MNZCC for the opportunity to be with you tonight. I am sure this close cooperation between the Chamber and MITI will continue to bring our business communities and our people closer.

14. I also would like to take this opportunity of wishing you all and the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Team every success in the match against Canada soon in the 2011 Rugby World Cup Tournament.

Thank you and Selamat Malam.

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