Thursday, October 15, 2009

Japan ‘looks west’ to Malaysia for lessons in harmony

JOHOR BARU: Japan wants to learn how Malaysians from different ethnic backgrounds and cultures are able to live together harmoniously.

Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia Masahiko Horie said Japan should have a “Look West Policy,” in reference to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s “Look East Policy.”

He said a “Look West Policy” did not mean Japan would look to the Western nations but to Malaysia for its uniqueness and strengths in promoting racial harmony.

Horie said he met Dr Mahathir two weeks ago at an official function in Kuala Lumpur and raised the idea to him, adding that the former premier was supportive of the notion.

“Unlike Japan which is too homogeneous where its people share the same culture, tradition and language, Malaysia is unique in many ways,” he told journalists after delivering a lecture on “Climate Change and Cool Earth” in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Skudai campus.

Horie said he was impressed with the open house concept practised by Malays, Chinese, Indians and ethnic groups in Sabah and Sarawak during festive occasions.

“I really enjoy going to open houses one after another here.”

Whenever he is back in Japan, Horie said he would go to different prefectures and universities to give talks on Malaysia especially on its multi-racial society.

Meanwhile, university deputy vice-chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Dr Marzuki Khalid said the university had forwarded a proposal to set up a Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology at its international campus in Kuala Lumpur.

A Cabinet paper was being prepared on the matter which would be established with a RM300mil grant, he said.

*Taken from The Star Online

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