MALACCA (Malaysia), Oct 3 (NNN-Bernama) — Education has become one of the bridges that tie relations between New Zealand and Malaysia, said New Zealand Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro.
Kiro said the relations started in the early 1940s when the New Zealand Defence Force supported Malaysia’s defence during the emergency and then the Konfrontasi, before Malaysian students started going to New Zealand under the Colombo Plan in the early 1950s.
“These alumni returned to Malaysia, taking up positions in business, science, government and academia. They have contributed in significant ways to building personal ties between our two countries,” she said in her speech during a luncheon at a boarding school in the southwestern state of Malacca Tuesday.
Kiro said Malaysia continued to be a top source of international students for New Zealand, including those on Malaysian government scholarships.
Kiro said she was not from a wealthy family and education had changed her life and opened up many opportunities.
“Education has proved to be an important stepping stone for me, opening the door for so many opportunities, and I do just want to point out that although my PhD was in social policy, my master’s was in business.
“I understand that some of you might have come from difficult situations but whatever your background, I encourage you to make the most of your time here,” said Kiro, who was the first from her family to go to university.
She stressed the importance of maintaining good relations between the two governments, adding that visits by professionals would make the link much stronger.
Kiro arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday for her maiden visit to Malaysia and the Southeast Asian region after assuming office on Oct 21, 2021.
The state visit to Malaysia is at the invitation of the Malaysian King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.