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‘1Malaysia’ Impresses French Ambassador

News From : DagangHalal.com (07 Feb 2010)

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 (Bernama) — As France debates on a national identity, the ‘1Malaysia’ concept has drawn the interest of its ambassador here, Dr Marc Barety.

“How you manage when you are a diverse country with many different communities and how everybody is working together towards the same goal is interesting,” he told Bernama in an interview at the embassy in busy Jalan Ampang here.

Noting that France was also a diverse country, he said the French Government had launched a debate on national identity, calling on citizens to express their views about what being French means.

“So, the answers are, of course, very diverse…we are not at the end of the process.

“For us, to see that Malaysia is also thinking of 1Malaysia and what it means to be one country when you have various communities is, of course, very interesting,” noted Dr Barety.

According to a media report, the French Government launched a website last November for the people to give input in the project carried out by its ministry of immigration and national identity.

In the interview on France-Malaysia relations, Dr Barety said the increasing number of reciprocal visits by ministers of both countries was a step forward in bilateral relations.

“We have had more French ministers visiting Malaysia in the past year than we had before,” he said.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi visited Paris for talks with French leaders and counterparts.

“Of course, the prime minister met with our president (Nicolas Sarkozy) but more important than that, they decided to engage in strategic partnership which is really an upgrade…it means a lot for the future,” he said.

The ambassador, who met representatives of top French companies here last week, said Malaysia was a very attractive place for them.

“They told me they are happy here and they want to develop their business here…For me, this is very positive, when you compare this with what you read in some newspapers and talk to the people who know the business, it is very satisfying,” added Dr Barety.

According to him, there are now 200 French companies in Malaysia while the number of French living in the country has grown to 2,300.

He said France was also keen to tap on Malaysia’s expertise in Islamic finance and halal food.

“Malaysia is becoming (a) hub for (the) halal industry and we are trying to develop this.

“We have the French Muslim community who are already producing halal food,” he said.

— BERNAMA

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