KUALA LUMPUR: Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales was impressed that 60 years after independence, Malaysia offers a powerful model to others in the region, not only because of its particular strength in business, education, science, security and defence, but also the way Malaysia operate on the world stage.
Prince Charles said Malaysia’s long-standing global reputation for understanding across the borders of faith and community was a precious asset in a world threatened by a lack of “this most essential commodity”.
“The pillars of such a reputation, founded, as they must be, on mutual respect and the willingness not merely to tolerate, but to celebrate differences and diversity in all their forms, could not be more relevant or, indeed, needed in today’s fractious times,” said Prince Charles in his speech at the Royal Gala Dinner last night.
The Gala Dinner, hosted by the British High Commission in Malaysia, was attended by the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, several ministers and deputy ministers, Members of Parliament and other dignitaries.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall alongside the guests were treated to a fusion of British-Malaysian menu including home smoked Scottish salmon with wilted wild fern leaf and ‘rendang’ beef Wellington.
Prince Charles said the 60th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence was a worthy moment to reflect, on the fact that both countries have much to learn and everything to gain by building on the legacy of trust and the strong bonds that exist between them and which were augmented by their membership of the very special Commonwealth Family of nations.
“Sixty years on from independence, it is clear that very strong foundations of mutual respect and understanding were laid down when Malaysia became part of the Commonwealth, with its shared principles, strong values and vision of a common future,” he said.
The heir to the British throne also expressed hope that Malaysia and the United Kingdom may resolve to keep strengthening the enduring friendship between the two countries so that it thrives and prospers for many years to come.
His Royal Highness said that today, the partnership between the two countries was vibrant, dynamic, and vitally important for the prosperity and security of the two countries.
“The trade and investment that flows between us, in both directions, creates skilled, well-paid employment in the United Kingdom just as it does in Malaysia.
“The defence and security cooperation that we enjoy makes a crucial difference to keeping all our people safe, whether through the Five Powers Defence Arrangements that I am greatly looking forward to learning more about when I visit the Royal Malaysian Air Force station at Butterworth, Penang, next week, or through our shared determination to tackle the evil of terrorism that threatens us all,” he remarked.
On the visit, His Royal Highness also mentioned that it would end in Penang, where 231 years ago, the long-standing history between the United Kingdom and Malaysia began.
“I gather that Penang was known for many years as Prince of Wales Island and the fact that it isn’t the case any longer, I promise I will not take personally, although my grandson,George, may possibly be cheered in due course by the name of its capital!.
“Rather more poetically, though, I believe Penang was known as ‘the Pearl of the Orient,’ so my wife and I are very much looking forward to discovering its charms for ourselves,” he said.
Prince Charles said that, he and Camilla have long held a firm desire to visit Malaysia, “so this occasion is not only a very special moment for us personally, but also a particularly special opportunity to celebrate the enduring ties between our people”.
“I cannot tell you how delighted my wife and I are to have been invited to visit Malaysia to celebrate the 60th anniversary of your independence and all the years of diplomatic ties between our countries that have followed,” he said.
The maiden visit by the royal couple to Malaysia was to commemorate 60 years of diplomatic ties between the United Kingdom and Malaysia.
The Royal couple who arrived in the Malaysian capital Thursday, are scheduled to visit a number of places in Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Sarawak and Penang, as well as participate in various significant events over a span of seven days from Nov 2 to 8. –Bernama