KUALA LUMPUR: The China-Malaysia Year of Culture and Tourism 2020 kicked off with a colourful cultural performance featuring the best of both countries.
The event, held at Istana Budaya, was jointly hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China, Malaysia’s Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia.
Some 500 guests comprising community leaders, representatives from Chinese organisations and academics from both countries were entertained to dance and musical performances.
In a special message from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he said the joint culture and tourism initiative would push bilateral relations between the two nations to new heights.
“It is a relationship that is rooted since the 15th century and Ming Dynasty. We are proud of our diversity of multiculturalism, which we strongly believe is our uniqueness and strength.
“This very strength will also be the foundation for our development towards prosperity together, ’’ he said in his speech, which was read out by Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi. Dr Mahathir noted Malaysia was looking forward to a more balanced, sustainable and developed economy between the two countries that will benefit the people.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also penned a special message for the event that was read by the republic’s vice minister of culture and tourism Zhang Xu.
By taking the China-Malaysia Year of Culture and Tourism 2020 as an opportunity, Li called for the cultural exchange and tourism cooperation to be expanded.
‘’Let’s encourage more people-to-people visits, continue fostering our friendship, increasing mutual understanding and laying a solid social foundation for a comprehensive and strategic China-Malaysia partnership, ’’ he said.
The audience was entertained by a group of dancers from the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region Dance, Drama and Opera Theatre, followed by the Malaysian Pencak Berlagak group dance performing traditional silat and palace dance.
China ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian was also at the event.
Also present were Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry secretary-general Datuk Noor Zari Hamat, Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok and Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong.
The night culminated in a colourful Visit Malaysia 2020 group dance featuring various ethnicity and cultural dancers in Malaysia.