Selamat petang dan selamat sejahtera
Datuk Kamaruddin, thank you for your kind remarks. It is a pleasure to be here with you and the KYS community this afternoon.
I also acknowledge Tan Sri Halim bin Saad, founder of the KYS Education Group.
Tan Sri Halim, thank you for your immense contribution to the Malaysia-New Zealand relationship through education. I note that, quite appropriately, you received the prestigious Friend of New Zealand award a few years ago [at the KEA World Class New Zealanders ceremony in 2015].
This year we have been celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and New Zealand.
Malaysia is one of New Zealand’s oldest and closest partners in South East Asia. Only weeks after Merdeka, New Zealand was one of 18 countries to formally establish relations with the then Federation of Malaya.
Our ties go back even further than 1957.New Zealand defence personnel served here during the Emergency period. Many were based at Terendak army camp, not far from here.
Malaysian students started coming to New Zealand under the Colombo Plan in the early 1950s. These alumni returned to Malaysia, taking up positions in business, government and academia. They also contributed significantly to building the close personal ties between our two countries that we see today. Tan Sri Halim and Datuk Kamaruddin are of course among these alumni.
KYS Education Group provides one of the strongest and most tangible links between Malaysia and New Zealand today.
The KYS New Zealand Chartered Accountancy Pathway Programme, involving collaboration between KYS and a number of New Zealand universities, is a best-practice model of collaboration to support Malaysian students reaching their career goals.
I understand over 470 students have taken part in the programme so far, with more students here today preparing to go out next year. I look forward to meeting you shortly. I am sure you will obtain not only a world-class education, but also a cultural and lifestyle experience second to none.
I am pleased that the latest initiative – the one-year New Zealand Foundation Certificate programme – will provide a seamless entrance pathway for participating KYS students to all New Zealand universities in a range of courses.
Our people-to-people links underpin the long-standing friendship between Malaysia and New Zealand. Relations between our respective governments are of course important; but it is the students, tourists, business leaders and other professionals visiting and living in each other’s country that make the links that much stronger.
KYS is enabling the current generation, Malaysia’s future leaders to have the same opportunities that Tan Sri and Datuk enjoyed, and obviously grasped with great enthusiasm!
It’s good to see a number of kiwi teachers here, providing their expertise and experience to students from Malaysia and elsewhere in the region.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour to be here at KYS, and to be visiting Malaysia’s “Historic State”. I am looking forward to seeing you all soon over afternoon tea, and to touring this wonderful campus.