PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - China's long-awaited pandas, Fu Wa and Feng Yi, should arrive in Malaysia next week, hinted China's ambassador to Malaysia, Dr Huang Huikang.
However, he stopped short of revealing the actual arrival date, preferring to let Malaysia's Natural Resources and Environment Ministry make the announcement.
Whatever the date, the pandas will arrive here before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak begins his official visit to China on May 27.
Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the arrival of the pandas would symbolise a new phase in the Malaysia-China friendship.
"All Malaysians welcome the pandas and will take good care of them," he added.
Dr Huang and Mr Liow were speaking after opening a photo exhibition titled "40 Years of Glory here to commemorate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China.
Mr Liow said MCA would do its part to strengthen bilateral ties by ensuring the continuous growth of friendship and fruitful cooperation in politics, economy, culture and education.
He said the party would also play an active role to draw investments to the country by pushing for the success of the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park and Qinzhou Industrial Park projects.
"We will make sure that the people will benefit from the economic impact of the projects," Mr Liow said in his speech, adding that he was confident that US$106 billion (S$132.8 billion) worth of bilateral trade between the countries would be achieved soon.
Mr Liow also said the establishment of the Xiamen University's branch in Salak Tinggi, Selangor, has strengthened Malaysia's plan to become a regional education hub.
In his speech, Dr Huang said the Malaysia-China friendship was built on strong foundations and trust over the decades.
"Misfortune tests the sincerity of friends. After the MH370 incident, we still said that nothing can destroy the good and strong bond between the two countries," he added.