The delegates at the arrival hall of Matrade to start their first activity of the visit
1. Introduction. A delegation of 10 Maori friends who are members of the Maori Malay Polynesian Society Incorporated from Auckland, affiliated to the Malaysian-based the World Malay-Polynesian Organisation (WMPO) visited Kuala Lumpur to participate at the 2016 Malaysian International Halal Showcase (MIHAS 2016) held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) from March 30 to April 2, 2016. The secretariat and members of WMPO came in to facilitate their visit by providing accommodation, transport and guide. The delegation arrived at the KLIA airport on the night of March 28 received by a few WMPO members.
2. Itinerary of Visit. The first day (March 29) started with the visit to Matrade Exhibition where under the International Sourcing Programme, business matching to promote cross border trade and investments was organised. The delegation then visited the permanent exhibition hall displaying Malaysian products. Walking across to the nearby MITI Building, the next appointment was a courtesy call on the Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), YB Dato' Seri Mustapa Mohamed. We were glad that the Minister was able to accord time to the delegates where the WMPO representatives appeal to the Minister to facilitate the bilateral trade between the Maori companies in New Zealand and its counterparts in Malaysia could flourish. The after noon event was a business discussion with Thinkplus Group of Companies at Ativo Plaza, Persiaran Damansara where the delegates explored strategic collaboration with companies associated with Thinkplus. The day activity ended up with a lecture by Prof. Dr Mariam Latif on Halal Certification.
The International Sourcing Programme on business matching at Matrade
The Exhibition Hall displaying Malaysian Products at Matrade
The delegates exchanging gifts with officials of Matrade
Greeting Maori style with the MITI Minister
The Maori delegation and WMPO officials with the MITI Minister
Business meeting at Thinkplus, Ativo Plaza, Persiaran Damansara
3. The 13th Malaysian International Halal Showcase (MIHAS 2016). The delegates, on the second day (March 30), spent their time at MIHAS 2016 held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. It was officially opened by the Hon. MITI Minister with more than 500 stalls showcasing Halal certified products ranging from such food products as canned food, dairy, seafood, meat and poultry, confectionery, biscuits, grain and nuts, health supplements, pharmaceuticals and herbal products. The non-food include perfumery, toiletries, cosmetics and body care items. The Showcase is themed 'Experience Halal' and was made up of : a. International Halal Certification Bodies Convention with the objective of strengthening cordial relationship between JAKIM and all the recognised Halal certified bodies all over the world; b. International Sourcing Programme for business matching to facilitate cross border trade and investments; c. World Halal Conference 2016 as a forum for networking and exchanging views and information on the global economic status, Halal economy and trade and Islamic finance. That night Dato' Seri Kamarudin Kachar, President of WMPO hosted a dinner with the H.E The Deputy High Commissioner, Mrs. Jacinta Gould, gracing the occasion. It was attended by the Maori delegation and members of WMPO.
Dato' Seri Kamarudin Kachar, President of WMPO delivering his welcoming address. HE the New Zealand Deputy High Commissioner was sitting next Dato' Seri
Photo with HE The Dy High Commissioner of New Zealand
Group photo at the dinner
4. Business Discussions at Selangor Club and SkyRide Festivals Park Putrajaya. Five members of the delegation was taken to the Royal Selangor Club where I hosted them lunch. They were then taken to Putrajaya, where the delegates made a short stop at the Sultan Mizan Mosque where a volunteer guide, Tuan Hj Mahmud, conducted a quick tour of the mosque and blessed the books on Islam purchased by one of the members of the entourage. The discussion at the SkyRide Festivals Park revolved around how the development and marketing of tourism products in Malaysia. To brief the group was a very experienced marketer, Dato' Pam Ghani, CEO of SkyRide Worldwide Sdn Bhd, who has considerable experience particularly in getting in-bound tourists from China, South Korea and Japan to Malaysia. I am Chairman of SkyRide Worldwide Sdn Bhd and glad to have friends from New Zealand to visit the Festivals Park. The delegates were then conducted around the Festivals ground. The Festivals Park is made up of SkyRide Kid for children with its mini eco-challenge; the Sky Warrior, the eco-challenge type of facility getting popular among sports buff; SkyRide Exhibition and Demo where local handicrafts are shown; the SkyRide Gourmet where various types of food are available; the Helium Balloon, the main attraction at the Park. The day ended with a simple dinner at my residence in Bandar Baru Bangi.
The delegates being conducted around the Sultan Mizan Mosque in Putrajaya
SkyRide Festials Park Centre with the Helium Balloon
The delegates with Dato' Pam Ghani (in yellow) in the waiting lounge of the Helium Balloon Ticketing Office
Waiting for the turn to take the flight on the Helium Balloon at SkyRide Festivals Park, with the Chairman of SkyRide Worldwide Sdn Bhd
Photo from the Helium Balloon platform overlooking the Putrajaya Lake
Before boarding the passenger enclosure of the Helium Balloon
5. Discussion on Entrepreneural Training with Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM). The effort to meet with the newly-appointed VC was not successful. However, Dr. Wan Salleh's persistent effort manage to get an appointment to see the officials of the Public Relations Office of the University on April 1. As previously experienced, the University officials were enthusiastic on the aspirations of WMPO in strengthening ties with the peoples in the 37 ancestral nations of Malay-Polynesia. Through a tri-partite understanding involving WMPO, the Maori Malay Polynesian Society Inc. in Aucland and UiTM, training programmes could be developed particularly in entrepreneural expertise to meet the needs of the Maori and Pacifica youths. Trainees could also undergo practical training in UiTM Alumni affiliated group of companies.
6. Attending the Wedding Reception for Rosmin and Nur Bertha. I was fortunate to still have a few Maori friends in town when the family had a wedding reception at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) on Saturday April 2, 2016 for our son, Rosmin, who has selected a Kadazandusun girl from Ranau, Sabah to be his life-long partner. The 'akad nikah' for Rosmin and Nur Bertha took place at the Hibiscus Garden Hall, Pacific Sutera Hotel, Kota Kinabalu on January 2, 2016 (read my earlier posting entitled ' A Four-Day Odyssey in Sabah' in this blog website). This reception was organised for the many friends of Rosmin in the music and entertainment industry, close members of the family and the many friends and members of the community and organisations I am associated with, living in and around Kuala Lumpur, Pulau Langkawi, Kedah, Perak and other parts of Peninsular Malaysia. The Maori friends that could attend the reception were Chief Matutaera Clendon, Mr. Richard Willoughby and Mr. Samuel Noon. Chief Matu was given the honour of doing the 'merinjis', the traditional blessing of the newly wed followed by being seated at the main table with the newly-wed. At the later part of the ceremony Chief Matu and the Maori delegation together with the President and Secretary General of WMPO were invited to give away a wedding gift of Maori waka (boat) to the newly-wed, symbolising the long journey across the wide ocean from Aoteoroa (New Zealand) to Malaysia and back, as an expression of the unbroken bond till eternity between the Malay-Polyesian cousins, blessed the couple in the traditional Maori way, a short speech and finally a rendition of a Maori song.
Chief Matu blessing the newly -wed
The wedding gift, a Maori waka, presented to the couple
The Maori delegates at the VIP table
7. Concluding Remarks and Acknowledgement. We, in WMPO, are greatly honored to play host to our Maori cousins from Auckland and to facilitate the various activities and discussions especially in business partnership and training curriculum for youths in Maoridom and the Pacific Islands. This trip has indeed enhanced our bond of relationship and trust slowly but surely concrete benefits will emerge from this brotherhood. I wish to acknowledge the efforts of Dr. Wan Salleh, the Secretary General of WMPO, who has taken the main initiatives in arranging the many activities and discussions and communicating them through the WMPO Whatapps group, which I have liberally used in the write-up of this article.