IT was a sentimental homage to the past, with a view to the future.
“Certainly, the 35th anniversary of the first visit undertaken by my late father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, has a sentimental and nostalgic significance for me and my family,” Datuk Seri Najib Razak said at a press conference on Thursday evening to wrap up his stay here.
“What is important is not solely the historical perspective but to look forward to what we can do to take bilateral relations to a much higher level.”
China set the tone to the prime minister’s four-day visit here in symbolic gestures – by, among others, flying the Malaysian flag in Tiananmen Square and holding a signing ceremony in the same room in the Great Hall of the People where Razak and his counterpart, Zhou Enlai, had put their names on the joint communique to establish relations on May 31, 1974.
What touched Najib most, however, was Premier Wen Jiabao’s instruction to Chinese news agencies to find the photograph of the 1974 signing.
It was declared lost at first, but a second, sterner order eventually led to the picture being found.
It was framed and presented by Wen to Najib and his family on Wednesday.
“The visit brought out personal feelings and sentiments. At the same time, I feel optimistic about the future of relations between Malaysia and China.
“I cannot see that we would be unable to encourage an expansion of bilateral relations at a faster pace.
“China has grown at a rapid rate, so it would be right for us to make sure that relations follow the rhythm and speed of China’s development,” he added.
In rememberance of Razak’s initiative as the first Asean leader to recognise the People’s Republic, its ambassadors have made it a point to visit his wife, Tun Rahah Mohd Noah, since the second prime minister’s death in 1976.
“Theirs is the only embassy to do so,” Najib said. “The Chinese never forget a good deed.”
Source : Straits Times