Malaysia-China sign agreement on loan of giant pandas
PUTRAJAYA, June 15 — The Malaysian government today signed an agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA), People’s Republic of China (PRC) which will pave the way for the loan of a pair of giant pandas to Malaysia.
The agreement was signed by Peninsula Malaysia’s Director-General of the Wild Life Protection and National Parks Department (Perhilitan), Datuk Abd Rasid Samsudin and the Secretary-General of CWCA Zang Chunlin this afternoon.
The signing was witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and a Member of the Permanent Committee of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Political Bureau Committee, He Guaqiang.
The two giant pandas to be loaned to Malaysia for a period of 10 years are symbols of the 40th anniversary of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations that will be celebrated in 2014.
Based on the experiences of neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Singapore, Malaysia will receive the pair of pandas within one year from the date of signing of the agreement.
At the signing ceremony here, Najib said the loan of the two pandas followed a personal request made to his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, during his visit to Nanning last April.
“I was truly delighted when Premier Wen responded immediately and gave his consent for the pandas to be loaned to Malaysia.
“Pandas are very lovely animals and appreciated not only by the Chinese but the whole world. Their presence in Malaysia will certainly be an attraction for Malaysia and visitors here,” he said.
Najib said relations between Malaysia and China now were becoming stronger and the Great Wall nation was Malaysia’s biggest trading partner and an important source of investment in future.
“I wanted a symbol of our relationship which ordinary people can identify with. I can’t think of a greater idea than having a pair of pandas in this country. I’m sure it is going to be a great hit in Malaysia and we will generate income as well from the presence of the pandas in the country,” he said.
Najib said the two pandas would be placed at the Wetland Park here, which would be given infrastructure similar to the natural habitat of the giant pandas, and the Yayasan 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) would bear half the cost of constructing the facilities.
“Once the facilities have been set up, we will do what is necessary to meet all the technical requirements, we are looking forward to receiving the pandas,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry said in a statement that a national-level competition would be held specifically to name the unique giant pandas to encourage Malaysians to know more about the animals.
Further information on the competition can be obained by surfing the official website of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry at http://nre.gov.my. — Bernama