BEIJING, June 5 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said there were many special memorable moments during his latest trip to China and one of them was the pleasant surprise that Chinese premier Wen Jiabao sprang at the West Hall of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square here.
Najib said the presentation of an old copy of a black and white photograph of his late father, Tun Abdul Razak, signing a communique with then Chinese premier Zhaou Enlai, by Wen caught him and family by surprise and even the Malaysian ambassador to China, Datuk Syed Norulzaman Syed Kamarulzaman, was not told about it.
In a press conference for the Malaysian media prior to his departure for home, Najib said he later discovered that Wen had instructed a news organisation to look for the photograph of his late father and Zhou at the historic occasion.
The first response from the people at the news organisation was that they could not find it.
“But he said: “Go back and find it” and that was a very stern instruction, and of course, when the Chinese prime minister tells you for the second time, you better do it,” he said, adding that the much sought-after picture was finally found from the archives.
Najib said Wen decided to present him and his family the photograph at the West Hall of Great Hall of the People on Wednesday, the same venue where the communique was signed 35 years ago.
The Chinese side also departed from the norm and allowed speeches to be made on Wednesday besides having the signing of four MoUs between Malaysia and China.
“Normally they don’t use the Great Hall for signing ceremonies but they used it (in 1974 and in 2009) because they wanted to signify the historical importance of the visit,” he said, adding that there were other kind gestures during his current trip which would be outside the normal protocol.
This, he said, was an an indication of the special sentiment that they have towards Malaysia because “we were the first Asean country to recognise them.”
Asked why he had brought along his mother, Tun Rahah Mohamed Noah, to Beijing this time, Najib said the visit had family elements apart from sentiments in celebrating 35 years of bilateral relations from a government that appreciated the contributions of his late father.
“They never forgot the family role of my late father or my mother. That is why Chinese ambassadors (to Malaysia) make it a point to invite my mother to visit their families at their homes although my father is no longer around.
“This is not done by any other country, but China does it. This is the uniqueness of the Chinese, they will never forget a good deed,” he said.
Najib said the visit this time also carried a deep and special meaning for him.
Among the reasons was that this was his first official visit to a country outside Asean since taking over as Prime Minister of Malaysia on April 3.
“This shows, as to the ties between Malaysia and China, the leadership of both countries deem it to be very important and strategic.
“From the personal angle, it is very sentimental and nostalgic to me and my family as this year marks the 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China which was initiated by my late father in 1974.”
However, Najib said what was important was not to solely view the relationship from the historical perspective but to look forward, especially on what could be done to bring the ties to greater heights.
Saying he was very optimistic about the relations between Malaysia and China in future, Najib was of the view the visit would encourage more and faster exchanges between the two countries.
“I have stated my visit is not to follow in my father’s footsteps but to move the bilateral relations “faster and further ahead” because China has been developing at a very rapid pace.
“As such, it is only appropriate for us to ensure our relations also match the pace,” he said.
Najib said he also hoped Nooryana Najwa and Nor Ashman would have a greater understanding of the country (China).
When asked for the reaction of Nor Ashman, who is studying Mandarin at Georgetown University in Washington DC, to his suggestion that he should study the language for a month or two at the Beijing Foreign Studies University, the prime minister said he was still thinking about it.
Source : Bernama