KUCHING, Sept 20: With about 8,000 Malaysians residing in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the Malaysia Day celebrations in the foreign country saw residents and dignitaries alike observing the momentous occasion.
Sarawak Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah led a delegation to celebrate Malaysia Day with Malaysian citizens in PNG from Sept 7 to 9.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts (MTCP), Abdul Karim was delegated by Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg to attend the celebration hosted by the Malaysian High Commission in Port Moresby, PNG.
The delegation was made up of officers from the Ministry, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Sarawak Arts Council (SAC).
On Sept 7, High Commissioner of Malaysia in PNG, Mohamad Nasri Abdul Rahman hosted a Malaysia Day reception at Stanley Hotel, which was attended by many Malaysians including Sarawakians.
Among the ministers from PNG present were Foreign Affairs Minister Justin Tkatchenko; Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Jelta Wong; Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology and Sports Minister Don Poyle; and Palm Oil Minister Francis Manake.
During his speech at the reception, Tkatchenko encouraged possible areas of cooperation between Malaysia and PNG which includes, tourism, agriculture, small-medium enterprise, higher education and other areas for mutual benefits.
During the short stay, Abdul Karim and the delegation also paid courtesy calls to the Prime Minister James Marape; Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Henry Leonard; and Secretary to Prime Minister Ivan Pomaleu.
At the same time, STB and SAC took the opportunity to organise promotional activities to showcase Sarawak’s unique food and culture to PNG communities such as Sarawak Laksa cooking demo and tasting as well as the staging of Sarawakian cultural performances and Sarawak video presentation in Vison City Mega Mall, the largest shopping mall in Port Moresby.
Abdul Karim and the delegation also visited several Sarawakian enterpreneurs in PNG whose investment ranged from property development, hotels, shopping malls, news services, pharmaceutical supplies to other manufacturing and retail businesses.
The delegation also visited several Sarawakian entrepreneurs in PNG, attended dinners hosted by Rimbunan Hijau (PNG) Ltd and the Malaysia Association of Papua New Guinea, as well as attended an earth-breaking ceremony of Paga Hill Paradise whose developer Jimmy Poh originated from Sarawak.
Following the trip, Abdul Karim expressed his wish to see more bilateral collaboration between Sarawak and PNG.
With more than 800 ethnic groups and many unspoiled natures, he was confident that there is a lot of potential for tourism to be developed and promoted in PNG.
He was also impressed with the openness of PNG government in welcoming foreign investors. — DayakDaily