A pair of giant pandas from China will soon arrive in Malaysia as a symbolic gesture to enhance understanding and friendship between the two countries, China's Xinhua news agency reported today.
As special envoys and symbol of friendship, the pandas, named Feng Yi (Phoenix) and Fu Wa (Lucky), would play an important role in further strengthening bilateral ties and developing all-round cooperation between the two countries, the state-run news agency quoted its ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang as saying.
Huang was also reported to have spoken highly of Malaysia’s efforts in welcoming the pandas, saying: “Right now, all is ready except the most crucial part. Let's wish a happy life for the pandas after their arrival in Malaysia.”
The two giant pandas were originally scheduled to arrive in Malaysia on April 16.
The sending-off ceremony was postponed by the Chinese government due to its pre-occupation with the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 aircraft which had been missing since March 8, Malaysia's Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel had said earlier.
Malaysia and China had signed an agreement on June 15, 2012 whereby the two giant pandas would be loaned to Malaysia for a period of 10 years.
The agreement was to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 2014.
The arrangement came about following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's request to former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his official visit to Nanning in 2012.
Malaysia would do everything to cooperate with China to ensure the health of the two pandas, and a grand welcoming ceremony would be held for their arrival, Xinhua quoted the director of Kuala Lumpur National Zoo Muhammad Danial Felix as saying.
Two Chinese experts would be dispatched to Malaysia to stay with the pandas for at least three months, he added.
Feng Yi (female) and Fu Wa (male) will be renamed after their arrival. The naming competition organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has attracted more than 2,000 entries.
An enclosure costing RM25 million has been completed at the zoo after construction started on April 11 last year.
The 6,475 square meters enclosure encompassing three main areas will be kept at under 24°C, the same temperature as their original habitat.
Other facilities in the complex include a laboratory, veterinary clinic, incubator room, nursery and monitoring room. – Bernama, May 13, 2014.