Friday, May 1, 2015

Melaka to benefit from "Belt and Road" initiative

News 2015-04-26 13:41

MELAKA, April 26 (Xinhua) -- 

The China-led "Silk Road Economic Belt" and the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" initiatives, also known as the "Belt and Road", would offer more opportunities for Melaka to boost its economy, a senior Melaka official said on Sunday.

"I'm in full support of reviving the maritime silk road as it will not only boost trade and commerce along the route but also deepen mutual trust among related countries," Idris Haron, chief minister of Melaka, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

Contacts between China and Melaka can be traced back to at least 6 centuries ago. Historical records reveal that Ming Dynasty 's Admiral Zheng He visited Melaka at least 5 times during his famous seven voyages to the Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa from 1405 to 1433.

Due to a lack of natural resources, Melaka depends heavily on manufacturing and services industry, and is eager to revive its status as a regional trade and commerce hub.

"OBOR, the acronym of 'One Belt and One Road', means 'torch' in Malay language. A torch always stays at the front to give the lights to the followers at the back," Haron said.

The revival of the maritime silk road will allow the 40 cities along the route to be connected and thus bring development opportunities, he added.

Jointly building the "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, is aimed at helping promote the economic prosperity of the countries along the "Belt and Road" and regional economic cooperation, strengthen exchanges and mutual learning between different civilizations, and promote world peace and development. It is a great undertaking that will benefit people around the world.

Melaka is in need of foreign investment to boost its infrastructure and drive its economic growth. For example, more than 300,000 ships pass through Melaka every year, but due to a lack of related facilities, these ships have to wait for a long time to be served, which shows the urgency for the state to build a new seaport terminal.

Haron said Melaka welcomes more Chinese investment, and it's nice to see that more and more Chinese companies have shown their interests in investing here.

A unit of China's Xinyi Solar has invested 1.5 billion Malaysian ringgit (about 420 million US dollars) in the construction of an ultra-clear photovoltaic glass factory in Melaka and 800 job opportunities will be created when the factory begins operation.

"I believe more Chinese capital is in the pipeline to Melaka," Haron said.

The prosperity of Melaka will contribute to the success of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and is also beneficial to deepen bilateral ties between China and Malaysia which has witnessed steady development in the past 4 decades, he noted.

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