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Speech by Consul General Liang Caide at the Chinese Lunar New Year Reception 2020
2020-01-17

Your Excellency Head of State Tuan Yang Terutama Tun Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Juhar bin Datuk Haji Mahiruddin,

Your Excellency Yang Amat Berbahagia Toh Puan Datuk Seri Panglima Hajah Norlidah binti Tan Sri Datuk R. M. Jasni,

Honorable Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah cum Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment YB Datuk Christina Liew, representative of His Excellency Chief Minister of Sabah Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie bin Haji Apdal,

Ministers and Assistant Ministers, Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblymen, government officials of all levels,

Leaders and representatives of various Chinese communities in Sabah and Labuan,

Overseas Chinese in Sabah, representatives of Chinese companies and students,

Colleagues of the consular agencies,

Ladies and gentlemen:

Good evening!

As the breeze of spring gracefully brings happiness to Sabah, may wonderful dreams come true in the Year of Rat. Tonight, we gather to celebrate the arrival of 2020 Chinese Lunar New Year. On behalf of the Chinese Consulate General, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all guests, and I wish you an auspicious and prosperous Chinese New Year!

Above all I felt honored to have Your Excellency Head of State Tuan Yang Terutama Tun and Yang Amat Berbahagia Toh Puan once again attend our Chinese Lunar New Year Reception. Your presence graces our function with much joyous and harmonious atmosphere. Let us once again express our welcome with warm applause!

This is my third Spring Festival in Sabah. I am glad to see that the traditional customs and culture of Spring Festival have rooted and flourished here. The lively sound of firecrackers and the excitement of dancing dragons and lions have brought great festive atmosphere in Sabah; I am glad to see that Spring Festival has become a common festival celebrated by various ethnic groups in Sabah. I am deeply impressed by the scene of people with different ethnic groups and religions happily and harmoniously celebrate the Spring Festival together; I am glad to see that Spring Festival has become the grand occasion of the expanding China-Malaysia as well as China-Sabah friendly relations. A large number of Chinese tourists come to Sabah for vacations during the Spring Festival, which has also deepened mutual understanding between the two peoples.

Friends,

For China, 2019 is a year of national celebration and of building on past achievements to forge into the future. We warmly celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. This has made us even more determined to follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and more confident about achieving the two centenary goals as well as the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

In the past year, facing the complex international situation, the Chinese government calmly responded to various challenges. Historical achievements were obtained by persisting in comprehensively deepening the reforms and expanding the opening up, and adopting decisive measures to promote the high-quality development of the national economy. The national annual GDP is expected to edge close to 100 trillion Chinese yuan with per capita figure reaching the level of 10,000 US dollars, and more than 10 million people across the country have been lifted out of poverty.

In the past year, China successfully hosted the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the second China International Import Expo, advanced the full entry into force of The China-ASEAN Free Trade Area Upgrading Protocol, concluded all the text-based negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP). A stable, secure, and prosperous China stands tall and proud in the east of the world and continues to make new contributions to the cause of peace and development of humankind. All these achievements condense the tireless efforts and sweat of the people of China, they too cannot be separated from the strong support and assistance given by friends from worldwide and overseas Chinese.

2019 is a far-reaching year for China-Malaysia relations as well as China-Sabah cooperation. We jointly celebrated the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Malaysia. Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir attended the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China and worked together with the Chinese leaders to draw up a blueprint for the development of bilateral relations. As of the first 11 months in 2019, the two-way trade between China and Malaysia has reached 111.4 billion US dollars, which definitely surpassed the figure of 108.6 billion US dollars in 2018. The friendly relations between China and Malaysia continue to expand and the converging interests is deepening, which bringing tangible benefits to the two peoples.

Meanwhile, cooperation between China and Sabah-Labuan in various fields has shown a steady and vigorous developing momentum. In April last year, His Excellency Chief Minister Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie led a delegation and visited Jiangxi and Guangdong provinces, signed a friendly cooperation agreement with Jiangxi Province, and 12 memorandums of understanding worth close to RM20 billion with enterprises in the two provinces. Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Trade and Industry YB Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau went to Nanning(capital of Guangxi Province) to participate in the China-ASEAN Expo; Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment YB Datuk Christina Liew visited Hangzhou(capital of Zhejiang Province) and Xi'an(capital of Shaanxi Province), and signed agreements on the establishment of Friendship City relationship with the two cities. In addition, several government ministers and members of parliament in Sabah went to China to discuss cooperation between the two places. China's Minister of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei visited Sabah and held a China-Malaysia Manufacturing Round table Meeting in Sabah. More Chinese companies have come to Sabah for investigation and settlement. The fields involved include infrastructure, tourism and hospitality, real estate, electrical power, manufacturing, agriculture and aquaculture, etc. which has injected more vitality into Sabah's economy.

We are pleased to see that Sabah is becoming an “Internet Celebrity” of tourist destination in the eyes of Chinese tourists. You could read lots of positive reviews about Sabah’s beautiful islands and delicious cuisine on the Internet. There are more than 120 direct flights between Sabah and cities in China every week, and there will soon be direct flights from Xi'an to Kota Kinabalu. As of the first 11 months of last year, the number of Chinese tourists who visited Sabah approached 560,000, creating huge tourism revenue for Sabah. This year marks the Visit Malaysia 2020 and the China-Malaysia Cultural Tourism Year is about to be launched. We hope that every Chinese tourist who visits Sabah will come happily and return with wonderful memories, and Sabah could become a hospitable and friendly tourism paradise that tourists long for and love.

Here I also have good news to you. In December last year, the first Confucius Institute in East Malaysia was officially established at University Malaysia Sabah, it will become an important platform for the people in Sabah to learn Chinese language and culture. I believe that the essence of Chinese Confucianism will also contribute rich wisdom and inspiration to the China-Sabah cooperation and development in various fields.

Looking back on the results of China-Sabah cooperation over the past year, what I wish to express the most at this moment is gratitude. I would like to thank the Sabah State Government and His Excellency Chief Minister Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie for the great concern and active support given to China-Sabah cooperation. I also thank the various Chinese communities, Chinese Chambers of Commerce, Chinese enterprises and overseas students in Sabah for making significant contributions to promote China-Sabah economic and trade cooperation, to enhance cultural exchanges of the two places as well as to inherit the Chinese traditional culture. Thanks to all the friendly people present today who support the work of the Consulate General and myself. It is the efforts of all of us to bring together a closer China-Sabah relation, achieving leaping development in cooperation.

Friends,

The year 2020 will be a key milestone in the history of both China and Malaysia. China will realize a moderately prosperous society in all respects, eliminate absolute poverty, and achieve the first centenary goal in the process of achieving China’s national rejuvenation; Malaysia will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit. These occasions also with the China-Malaysia Cultural Tourism Year provide a golden opportunity to promote China-Malaysia relations and China-Sabah cooperation. We are willing to work with the Sabah State Government and all walks of life to seize historical opportunities, deepen pragmatic cooperation, work hard to make progress, and jointly create a better tomorrow for China-Malaysia friendly relation and China-Sabah cooperation.

As the Chinese couplets say, Last year we hoped to see further, and this year we will climb to the higher level. Let us wish prosperity to China and Malaysia, long-lasting friendship between the two countries and well-being to the people of Sabah and Labuan!

I wish you and your family a happy, lucky and prosperous Chinese New Year!

Thank you!

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