Ambassador Dato Rohana binti Ramli of Malaysia hosted a reception at the Crystal Ballroom of Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Sept. 3, 2015 to celebrate the 58th National Day of her country.
Many distinguished guests came from various segments of Korean society and international community as well as from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps. Among them from the Korean side were Deputy Minister Shin Dong-ik of Foreign Affairs for Multicultural and Global Affairs, Rep. Hong Il-pyo (vice president of the Korea-Malaysia Parliamentary Friendship Association) and an usually large number of other lawmakers, who included Reps. Ahn Hong-joon, Lee Han-sung, Jasmine Lee, Yang Chang-young and Kang Eun-hee.
Attendance from the diplomatic and international communities was also very large adequately filling the spacious main Crystal Ballroom of the Hotel. There were an estimated hundred mission chiefs and other senior diplomats who, in the eyes of the camera, included Ambassadors Dato Paduka Haji Modh Rosli Bin Haji Sabtu of Brunei Darussalam, Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Elizabeth Nicol of Ghana, Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Nozuko Gloria Bam of South Africa, Khamsouay Keodalavong of Lao Republic, John A. Prasetio of Indonesia, Yip Wei Kiat of Singapore, Gonzalo Ortiz Diaz-Tortosa of Spain and Huu Chi Pham of Vietnam.
The national anthems of the Korea and Malaysia were sung by students of both Korea and Malaysia in a contrast with other diplomatic functions where they are presented either mechanically or by soloist(s).
Speaking to the guests, Ambassador Ramli said, “We have enjoyed good relations between Malaysia and Korea, although there remains enormous untapped potential for cooperation between both countries in myriad areas such as trade, investment, tourism, education, finance, defense, social development, infrastructure development, agriculture and other vital sectors.”
Then she that bilateral relations have also been on the rise as demonstrated by the exchanges of visits and initiatives at various official and personal levels and that the people to people relations between Malaysians and the Koreans are always warm and good. Korean dramas and Korean songs continue to win the hearts of Malaysia until today.
She also noted that trade and investment working visits are not only undertaken at federal level but also at states level which ends with positive outcome and that, for example, the State of Sarawak and Selangor had undertaken trade and investment working visit with the result that in the case of the State of Sarawak there were agreements signed between the state and Korean companies. (Excerpts from the speech are at the end of this Article.)
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Ramli of Malaysia:
The theme for Malaysia’s National Day this year is ‘Sehati Sejiwa’ which means ‘One Heart One Soul’. The theme reflects the spirit of unity, brotherhood and humanity among Malaysians. As Malaysia is made up of various races and religions, ‘sehati sejiwa’ would continue to strengthen the community regardless of ethnicity, beliefs or cultures. Also, the brotherhood feelings and feelings of being one and united would be embraced. Malaysia, as many know, is a country blessed with multi ethnics, culture and religions.
Since independence and the birth of the country, many challenges in managing the interethnic relations were experienced. Now, in general, and what is clear and being recognized by many in the world, is that, Malaysians mutually respect each other and are and has been living together in peace and harmony.
Since its independence on 31st August 1957 and the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963, Malaysia has continued to move forward as a nation in the face of domestic adversity and global challenges. Throughout the years, Malaysia has succeeded in many achievements -- national and regional development; foreign relations; economic growth and social development. While development has been exceptional, the country has not compromised its history and heritage although it develops modern infrastructure and industries rapidly.
The IMF in a report entitled “Favourable Prospects for Malaysia’s Diversified Economy” recognized Malaysia’s progress and expressed confidence that the country’s growth is likely to remain healthy in 2015, despite lower energy prices. The World Bank and World Economic Forum rank Malaysia amongst the top nations globally for ease of doing business and competitiveness. Meanwhile, Bloomberg has rated Malaysia as the world’s 5th most promising emerging market in 2015 and Malaysia is the only ASEAN country in its top 10. Thus, Malaysia is still on track in achieving the status of a fully developed nation by 2020.
Malaysia is also a land of fascinating sights and attractions. Rich in colour and contrasts, its multi-faceted charms seldom fail to awe visitors. It is a paradise of sun-drenched beaches, enchanting islands, diverse flora and fauna, forest retreats and magnificent mountains. Many visitors are also attracted to Malaysia for its shopping, mouth-watering cuisines, good convention facilities and adventure. Whether you are someone who loves nature or city life, Malaysia has everything to offer.
Last year, 2014, was Malaysia’s visits year. The tourism sector contributed RM61 billion (USD15.2 billion) to Malaysia’s Gross National Income (GNI). Malaysia was ranked as the 12th most-visited nation by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) with a record high of 27.4 million tourist arrivals in 2014.
This year 2015, is Malaysia’s festivals’ year. Why festivals’ year? As Malaysia comprised of multi ethnics, there are many festivals throughout the year that is being celebrated.
Visitors could experience celebrating these festivals with the locals.
As a result of the Look East Policy which was first launched in 1980s, there are many Malaysian students studying in the top-notch universities in Korea and most of them are doing engineering related courses. Quite a number of Malaysians graduate who speak fluent Korean have been employed to work with Koreans Jaebeols or conglomerates example Samsung and LG in Seoul as well as in Korean companies present in Malaysia.
In terms of bilateral relations between Malaysia and the Republic of Korea, we have enjoyed good relations, although there remain enormous untapped potential for cooperation between both countries in myriad areas such as trade, investment, tourism, education, finance, defense, social development, infrastructure development, agriculture and other vital sectors. Bilateral relations have also been on the rise as demonstrated by the exchanges of visits and initiatives at various official and personal levels. The people to people relations between Malaysians and the Koreans are always warm and good. Korean dramas and Korean songs continue to win the hearts of Malaysia until today.
Trade and investment working visits are not only undertaken at federal level but also at states level which ends with positive outcome. For example, the State of Sarawak and Selangor had undertaken trade and investment working visit. In the case of the State of Sarawak, there were agreements signed between the state and Korean companies.
In my remarks today, I had purposely avoided stating trade statistics as these could
easily be secured from both Malaysian and the Korean agencies. What is more important to state here is that like many other countries Malaysia continues to search a niche in its relation with the Republic of Korea, based on among others, its economic comparative advantage and also with a view to add value to its 55 years of bilateral relations. Malaysia has also acknowledged and has increasingly recognized that the Republic of Korea is one of the best partners in terms of knowledge based and cutting-edge technology industries.
On the international front, Malaysia has played an active and engaging role as the Chair of ASEAN as well as the non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
On numerous occasions, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea confer with one another on each other’s position. Both countries support each other as well on a number of issues.
As such, I am confident that in the years ahead, under the leadership of the Honorable Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak; and the Honourable President Park Geun-hye, both Malaysia and the Republic of Korea’s close bilateral relations, will achieve new and greater heights.
Malaysia’s independence moments, and some significant bilateral relations moments between Malaysia and the Republic of Korea are captured in photos and shown at this reception event for all to appreciate.
On that note, I wish to conclude by stating that I will spare no effort to reinforce the friendship and cooperation that have grown over the years between Malaysia and the Republic of Korea.