Close friends through thick and thin

Lu (right) and Chow wishing everyone a happy new year at the 2021 Online Chinese New Year Reception.

THE Governments and people of China and Malaysia have pledged to help each other in the joint fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting a precious friendship.

Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Penang Lu Shiwei said Malaysia donated supplies to China right after the country was hit by the pandemic.

“Many organisations and individuals from the Chinese communities in the four northern states of Malaysia were proactive and generous in donating the

supplies, ” said Lu in his speech during the 2021 Online Chinese New Year Reception in Penang on Thursday.

“After the Covid-19 outbreak in Malaysia, the Chinese Consulate-General in Penang provided assistance including raising funds to reciprocate Malaysia’s earlier support.

“At present, vaccine cooperation between China and Malaysia has made positive progress.

“I sincerely hope that the Chinese vaccine will help Malaysians achieve victory over the pandemic.”

Lu added that despite the challenges and difficulties faced in 2020, the economic and trade co-operation between China and Malaysia kept growing.

“The bilateral trade volume between China and Malaysia reached US$131.16bil (RM530.8bil), with an increase of 5.7% year-on-year.

“China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years.

“Only in hard times can courage and perseverance be manifested.

“After being tested by the pandemic, China-Malaysia friendly relations became more distinctive with broader prospects, ” he said.

Lu added that this year was of special significance to China as it was the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China and the inaugural year of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan.

“According to the latest economic outlook released by the International Monetary Fund, China’s economy is projected to grow by 8.1% in 2021.

“China’s strong growth will lead to global economic recovery.

“China and Malaysia will continue to focus on jointly fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and speeding up economic recovery, aligning and coordinating development strategies of both countries and making new progress in the Belt and Road co-operation.

“We also wish to tap new potential in the cooperation of newly emerging industries such as digital economy and artificial intelligence.

“The Chinese Consulate-General in Penang will build on the sound momentum generated by the two countries.

“We will work to continuously strengthen the friendship between provinces and cities in China and the four northern states of the consular district.

“The co-operation at local levels will bring more benefits to the people, ” he said.

Lu also extended his wish for everyone to have a harmonious and auspicious Year of the Ox.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said Malaysia and China had enjoyed a close and time-tested friendship since 1974. especially in trade, cultural exchange, education and tourism.

Chow added that in 2020, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic affected the lives of everyone all over the world.

“To curb the spread of Covid-19 at the time, the Government imposed the movement control order across the country in March last year.

“Through this measure, we also hoped to prevent the collapse of our healthcare system.

“However, we are deeply aware that it will not be easy to strike a balance between saving lives and saving livelihoods while effectively controlling the pandemic.

“It is my hope that once the Covid-19 pandemic comes to a close, the economic co-operation between Penang and Chinese cities will resume and be restored to pre-Covid levels for the continued growth of Chinese culture in Penang, ” he said.

Also present for the online reception were Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, Penang Port Commission chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng, Members of Parliament, assemblymen and leaders of the Chinese communities and political parties.

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