My Grandmother told me that Malaysia would provide us with some wonderful experiences and unforgettable memories.The Prince of Wales
My thanks for that generous introduction. And my thanks to the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce for inviting us today.
(Ad lib -Before I start. I'd just like to say how delicious lunch was but I was delighted to see that Durian wasn't on the menu. Having tasted it yesterday, I feared for the safety of the people I met thereafter).
Catherine and I are delighted to be here on what is our first visit to Malaysia. We are particularly pleased that our visit is specifically to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen. Her dedication has been extraordinary to all her Realms; and to the Commonwealth of which Malaysia is such an important and influential member. My Grandmother told me that Malaysia would provide us with some wonderful experiences and unforgettable memories. And so indeed it has proved. Over these three days here in Kuala Lumpur and in Sabah, we are getting to learn more of the different cultures that make up this great nation and seeing for ourselves something of the fabulous natural heritage of this land. We would like to thank the Malaysian people for giving us this marvellous opportunity.
The Queen has asked me to convey to the Malaysian people her deepest good wishes in this, her Diamond Jubilee Year. Thank you for this lunch, and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for welcoming us to Malaysia.
I am conscious that we come here as part of a long tradition of friendship and partnership between the United Kingdom and Malaysia. Indeed, the past year has seen so many high level visits in both directions that it has been difficult to keep up with the revolving door. Highlights have included Prime Minister Najib’s visit to the United Kingdom and the British Prime Minister’s visit here in April. We also had the great pleasure of welcoming His Majesty The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and The Raja Permaisuri Agong during their two visits to London for the celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee and for the Olympic Games.
At the heart of our longstanding partnership is business. Britain is an innovative, competitive and above all an open economy that warmly welcomes Malaysia’s businessmen and women. Nothing could make that clearer than the recent acquisition, by a Malaysian consortium, of the iconic Battersea Power Station site in London, just a mile from the British Parliament at Westminster. The striking Battersea investment is part of a welcome and growing pattern. DRB-Hicom has invested in Lotus, another British icon; and the Malaysian SME InfoValley, and many other Malaysian firms, have also been making significant investments in the British economy.
Incidentally, I can’t help pointing out that investing in the British automotive sector is a smart move, despite what is currently a difficult international economic backdrop. The United Kingdom has for the first time in some 40 years again become a net exporter of cars. I am, delighted too, that our business relationship is very much a two way street. I know that British companies in a wide variety of sectors from oil and gas to the creative industries are doing excellent business here.
The UK education sector is particularly active. I was very impressed to learn that more students study for UK qualifications here than in any other country in the World. This is not just important for educational or commercial reasons. When our students share the same curricula, and strive for common qualifications, we are building invaluable links between our younger generations that will continue to enrich and strengthen the relations between our countries for years to come.
Catherine and I have only been here a very short time – much too short, in fact. But I am already clear that your energetic commitment now, and the potential of our young people to work together in the years ahead, will ensure that the relationship between the United Kingdom and Malaysia is full of promise and possibility.
Let me end by thanking the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce most warmly for your generosity in giving the proceeds from this event to Hospis Malaysia. Catherine and I had a most moving visit to the Hospis yesterday. You are supporting a really wonderful cause.
On behalf of Catherine and myself, I wish to say again how delighted we are to see so many of you here today; and to thank you and all Malaysians for the warmth of your truly unforgettable welcome.