NZ and Sarawak can enhance ties, says visiting Minister  

The Star - Saturday, 07 June 2003

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KUCHING: The long-estab­lished ties between Sarawak and New Zealand should be nurtured, said New Zealand's Trade Negotiations, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Jim Sutton.

He said the two countries had deep roots in education as many Sarawakians pursued their studies under the Colom­bo Plan in New Zealand since the 1950s.

Both also had links in com­merce and government admin­istration for many years, he said, adding that both sides should also enhance their co­-operation in tourism and agri­culture.

"These are things that we must build on," he said at the opening of the NZ Centre at Jalan Utama here yesterday.

The centre handles matters related to education and busi­ness with New Zealand.   

Sutton, who is also Biosecu­rity and Rural Affairs Minister, told reporters that his coun­try's expertise in park and nat­ural resources management could also be applied to Sara­wak.

Earlier, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said some 13,000 Malaysians had studied in New Zealand and that there were almost 1,100 fee-paying Malaysian stu­dents there.

They contribute NZS39mil (RM85.4mi1) a year to that country. Dr Chan also said Sarawak had students from China, Thailand and the Philip­pines at Curtin University in Miri, and the state was set to be the region's education centre.

He suggested that local uni­versities have student ex­change programmes with those in New Zealand.