Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Najib Confident, Cousin Hishammuddin Has Support From Other Nations In UNESCO Executive Board Bid

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is confident that Malaysia will sit on the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) which is holding its 34th conference here.

He said his confidence stemmed from the support expressed by several representatives from other nations to Unesco for Malaysia's candidate to the board, Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

"The response to our reception held here was good. God willing, we have a good chance of sitting on the Unesco Executive Board," he told Malaysian reporters here today.

Earlier, Najib who arrived here for a four-day official visit to France, attended a special reception hosted by Hishammuddin at the Unesco building.

The function, which was also attended by several Unesco representatives, was held partly as a mark of support from Najib for Hishammuddin in seeking election to the 58-member Executive Board at the international body's biennial conference.

The conference is scheduled to select the board members tomorrow for a four-year term.

Najib said Malaysia's edge was its wide influence, resulting in several of the Unesco representatives seeing it as an exporter of education. "This means that we have not only managed to develop our education system to a commendable level, but we have also managed to export our expertise and assistance to other nations.

"This also means that we should be sitting on the Unesco Executive Board as we can contribute meaningfully to the world. We are not just a recipient but a contributor as well," he added.

Since becoming a member of Unesco in 1958, the last time Malaysia was represented in the Executive Board was in 1999, by Najib who was then the Education Minister.

Earlier when speaking at the reception, Najib was given a thunderous applause by the foreign guests when he said that Malaysia had allocated 20 per cent or RM30 billion from the national budget for education. The Unesco representatives present were also attracted by Najib's statement that although he was Defence Minister, he would always ensure that the budget for education was higher than that for enhancing Malaysia's defence system.

Asked on his meeting with French Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Co-Development, Brice Hortefeux, soon after arriving here, Najib said it was aimed at enhancing relations between the two countries. "We discussed things in general. He (Hortefeux) viewed Malaysia positively after having represented his country at Malaysia's 50th independence celebrations recently."

Najib said at the meeting, both countries also agreed to strengthen existing cordial bilateral ties while encouraging cooperation in new areas other than education, defence, trade and tourism. Najib is expected to call on the French Defence Minister Herve Morin during his visit here. Malaysia has diplomatic relations with France since July, 1958.

Najib will leave for Kuala Lumpur via London on Thursday. (Bernama)

***** One cousin travels thousands of kilometers to Paris to sokong the other, who in return hosts a 'special reception' there in honour of the first. All at government expense I presume.
Image - Source

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