Thursday, October 8, 2009

France Wants To Maintain Good Relations With Malaysia, Break New Ground

07 October 2009

France wants to maintain its good ties with Malaysia and has asked Malaysia to consider the technologiacal capability of its companies in waste management, land transport and nuclear power to explore new areas in relations between the two countries.

This was conveyed by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during their meeting at his official residence at Hotel Matignon here Tuesday, in conjunction with the Malaysian Prime Minister's four-day visit to France starting Sunday.

Najib told Malaysian journalists that at the meeting he conveyed AirAsia's aspiration to obtain landing rights in Paris.

He said AirAsia's application for landing rights at the Orly Airport was appropriate in view that the airline was the biggest customer of the Airbus A320.

He said Fillon informed him that AirAsia was offered landing rights outside Paris and the application for landing rights in Paris would be considered.

The meeting also touched on global issues like the new world financial architecture and climate change, he said.

On his meeting with the secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurria, on Tuesday, Najib said Gurria noted Malaysia's efforts to improve it standing after it was reported to have been blacklisted by the OECD.

According to news reports in April, Malaysia and three other countries, which had been blacklisted by the OECD, were taken off the list after they agreed to adopt the OECD's regulations.

It was also reported that the G20 leaders meeting in London, also in April, had cited Malaysia, the Philippines, Uruguay and Costa Rica as uncooperative tax havens, based on an OECD list.

Najib said Gurria also suggested that Malaysia take part in a study on performance in education which involved more than 60 countries to benchmark its performance against other countries.

On nuclear energy, Najib said it was a long-term option and not an easy undertaking.

"Somewhere along the line, if we decide that there is a strong case for Malaysia to generate electricity by using nuclear power, then we will take that decision but not immediately," he said.

He said the government needed to correct the fuel mix as it was not optimal currently since it utilised too much coal and gas.

The first move was to increase the hydro component and look at renewable energy such as solar, he said.

On the establishment of the Unesco-Malaysia Cooperative Trust Fund, which he announced when addressing the Unesco's general conference Tuesday, Najib said the intention was to provide the less developed countries with enhanced capacity to deliver quality education.

"You train the teacher, the teacher will be productive for many years. It's much better then giving financial assistance because the teacher can be a multiplier factor in terms of educating students with quality teaching," he said.

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