NANNING, April 4 (Bernama) — There’s an ancient Chinese saying that “drinking the water of a well, one should never forget who dug it”.
So, when Malaysia and China on Sunday launched their first joint industrial park in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao flashbacked Malaysia’s second prime minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein’s visit to China, 38 years ago.
That historic visit by Abdul Razak to establish friendly Sino-Malaysian relations has yielded many fruitful results throughout the years, including the current joint venture to develop the 55sq km China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park (QIP) over 15 years.
As the curtain was brought down to unveil the monument-like structure bearing the name of the industrial park, with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers also on the backdrop, Wen and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak engaged in a warm handshake symbolising the close friendly ties that the two nations have enjoyed since the era of Abdul Razak, Najib’s father.
In his speech, Wen said he fully subscribed to Najib’s view that the foundation of China-Malaysia ties must be based on mutual trust, adding that “the people of both countries should carry forward the long-standing friendship”.
Later, both leaders jointly planted the “friendship tree” at the project site.
To ensure smooth implementation of the development, the Chinese Government has accorded “national status” to the project. Both governments have pledged to give their fullest support to make QIP a world-class development.
The China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park, about 150km from here, is located near the Qinzhou free port which is China’s closest port to Asean countries.
The park, a government-to-government initiative, will focus on the development of manufacturing, IT and service industries. It will be developed in three phases, with the first phase covering an area of 15sq km expected to be completed by 2015.
The Qinzhou park is the third industrial park jointly developed by China and another country, with a similar park in eastern China’s city of Suzhou and an eco-city industrial park in northern China’s port city of Tianjin.
QIP has the Liujing-Qinzhou Port expressway and Qinzhou-Sandun railway to its east, and to its south are the coastal highway from Qinzhou to Fangchenggang and Beihei, Qinzhou Port-Dalanping railway and the railway between Dalanping and the Free Trade Port Area.
Qinzhou is located 1,549 nautical miles from Port Klang, 800 nautical miles from Ho Chi Minh, 836 nautical miles from Manila, 1,338 nautical miles from Singapore and 1,720 nautical miles from Jakarta.
In the joint venture, the Malaysian side will be spearheaded by S P Setia Berhad and Rimbunan Hijau Group while the Chinese will be represented by Qinzhou Jingu Investment Co Ltd.
Upon completion, the ecological coastal city is expected to accomodate a population of 500,000, which is nearly 13 per cent of Qinzhou’s current estimated population of 3.9 million.
In his speech, Najib offered to China a joint venture to establish a sister park in Malaysia.
Speaking to Malaysian journalists at Nanning airport before flying home, the prime minister said the sister park would be developed on about 600ha in Gebeng near Kuantan, Pahang, and his offer was received positively by Wen.
Najib said Kuantan was chosen because its port faced the South China Sea which could provide a direct link to the Qinzhou free port.
The prime minister’s special envoy to China, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, will coordinate the implementation of the project, including working out the details with the Pahang Government.
Najib also told reporters that the Chinese Government had agreed to allow budget carrier AirAsia to fly to Nanning.
During the launch, Najib said he was impressed with the speedy approval and progress of work on the project, and remarked that it was going ahead at “Qinzhou speed”.
“Today, I learned a new term, that is Qinzhou speed. So, when I want a project to be completed fast, I will say that it must be implemented at Qinzhou speed,” he said.
Today, China has become Malaysia’s top trading partner and Malaysia is China’s largest trading partner among the Asean countries with total trade volume between the two countries last year, reaching US$90 billion (RM275.5 billion).
The QIP project, and its proposed sister park, signifies the long-term collaboration between Malaysia and China, and Najib, in his speech, quoted a Chinese proverb to describe that: “One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade”.
After the ceremony, both prime ministers left in a motorcade, passing by a roadside billboard which aptly described the moment and the years to come: “May China-Malaysia Friendship be Everlasting”.
Source : Bernama