KOTA KINABALU: The State Government has always been willing to support the work of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Kota Kinabalu, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.
“Let us work together to continue to expand the exchanges and cooperation in various fields, to further enhance the close relationship between the people, to deepen the cooperation of Sister Cities (Kota Kinabalu and Hangzhou), and to promote the exchanges between Sabah and China’s provinces.
“We shall grasp the golden opportunity of the Belt and Road Initiative, to strive for a stronger development for Sabah that will benefit the people,” Pairin said when gracing the second anniversary of the establishment of the consulate here yesterday.
The Chinese consulate also introduced its new Deputy Consul General, Zhang He, at the event.
Pairin, who is also the Minister of Infrastructure Development, said the Consulate General had been well-integrated into Sabah’s society in the past year, and had, as always, promoted the friendship and cooperation between Sabah and China.
“They have done many practical works that benefit Sabah and its people, such as supporting the local Chinese education and cultural exchanges, official and non-official visits, exchanges between cities and so on.”
He was also pleased that Kota Kinabalu and Hangzhou had become Sister Cities, and moved by the consulate’s concerns and assistance to the local special groups.
“All efforts reflect the close family bonding of Malaysia and China.” he said.
Pairin said China’s Belt and Road initiative as well as the presence and efforts of the Chinese consulate, had further contributed in bringing more tourists from China and more Chinese companies to visit and explore possibility for cooperation in Sabah.
“These are Sabah’s expectations, opportunities and responsibilities as well.
“This year, the Sabah State Government has made progress in upgrading the infrastructure construction, better regulating the tourism market, enhancing capacity building while the safety of tourists becomes a more important issue to be ensured.”
Pairin conveyed his deepest sympathy to China and the Chinese tourists, referring to the Mengalum boat tragedy in February this year.
“It is something we should ensure does not happen again.”
That aside, Pairin looked forward to a future with opportunities for cooperation to achieve fruitful and win-win results between Sabah and China.
Also present were Pairin’s wife Puan Sri Genevieve Kitingan, Consul General Chen Peijie, Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datuk Edward Yong Oui Fah and Datin Mary Wong, Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, Sustainable Energy Development Authority Malaysia (SEDA) chairman Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai and wife Datin Vicky Yee, Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, prominent Chinese businessmen and leaders Tan Sri Joseph Lo, Tan Sri David Chu, Tan Sri Andrew Liew Sui Fatt, Datuk Michael Lui, Datuk Susan Wong Siew Guen, Datuk Lau Kok Sing, Datuk Tan Tiong Lai, Datin Tiong Tan Hua and KTS Trading Sdn Bhd Sabah area manager Wong Kee Mee.