KUALA LUMPUR: The New Zealand governor-general Dame Cindy Kiro said she looks forward to learning more about the indigenous peoples in Malaysia and how both countries can work together more closely in various fields.
Kiro, who is on her maiden four-day visit to Malaysia beginning Sunday (Oct 1), said indigenous exchanges are taking place across a range of areas, such as health, education, tourism and biodiversity.
"I am looking forward to my visit to Gombak this week, to learn more about the Orang Asli people and how we can work together more closely,” she said in her speech at the state banquet hosted by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at Istana Negara, here on Monday (Oct 2).
Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah was also present.
Earlier on Monday morning, Kiro was accorded a state welcome at Istana Negara, where she and her husband Dr Richard Davies, were greeted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong.
Kiro said indigenous links provide a special richness to New Zealand and Malaysia’s relationship where centuries ago, her Māori ancestors sailed from this part of the world to Polynesia, to Aotearoa New Zealand.
"To this day, the cultural ties between us are still strong, particularly with the people of Borneo. We see common threads in our traditions, our story telling, our art and our language,” she said.
On another note, she said both countries also cooperate on many shared challenges, such as transnational organised crime, counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism.
"In response to the tragic Christchurch terror attacks in 2019, where there were Malaysian casualties, we recall the strong outpouring of support from Malaysia, both from the government and the people. Thank you for standing by us during our time of need, and for the ongoing work together to build safe communities,” she said.
Kiro’s visit reflects the importance of Malaysia-New Zealand's long-standing bilateral relations and multifaceted cooperation, which were officially elevated to the level of strategic cooperation in May 2023.
New Zealand is Malaysia's second largest trading partner in the Pacific region, with total trade between the two nations reaching RM6.32bil (US$1.42bil) as of June this year, an increase of 15.3 per cent from RM5.48bil (US$1.27bil) recorded in the same corresponding period in 2022.- Bernama