Friday, May 23, 2008

Nikkei Conference, abdullah and mahathir


PM to deliver keynote address at Nikkei forum
By : Fauziah Ismail in Tokyo
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DATUK Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will make his fifth appearance at the annual Nikkei Conference tomorrow, where he will address a select group of political leaders, including several heads of government and corporate executives.

Abdullah has been attending the Nikkei Conference, which has established itself as one of the foremost large-scale international conferences in the region since he became prime minister in 2004.

He will deliver a speech based on the conference's theme of "Asia's Role: In pursuit of Global Coexistence".

The prime minister and his wife, Datin Paduka Seri Jeanne Abdullah, are expected to arrive in the Japanese capital later tonight for a three-day working visit.

Among those participating in the conference are Laos President Choummaly Sayasone, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Masahiko Koumura and Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Industry Minister Suwit Khunkitti.
They will be engaged in discussions on a number of perspectives, including how far Asia is equipped to support global economic growth and what contribution the countries of the region should make towards overcoming environmental issues, such as global warming.

Iskandar Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Ikmal Hijaz Hashim will participate in a focus session on "New partnerships in an era of surging oil prices".

In the past two years, Japan remained Malaysia's number one investor, with its companies either upgrading or expanding manufacturing facilities in the country. Last year, Malaysia saw RM6.5 billion worth of investments from Japan, up 32 per cent from RM4.4 billion in 2006.

There are more than 1,400 Japanese enterprises operating in Malaysia. These companies have provided a broad manufacturing base in Malay-sia and significantly contributed to the economic growth and further development of the country.

In terms of trade, Japan was Malaysia's third largest trading partner, registering growth in bilateral trade of 14 per cent last year.

In his talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda tomorrow, Abdullah is expected to discuss promoting trade through a bilateral free trade agreement and other issues. He will also attend a luncheon with Japanese members of parliament.

On Saturday, he will accompany Jeanne to the Soka University in Hachioji, a suburb of Tokyo, where she will be conferred an award.

The prime minister and wife will return home on May 27 after a two-day private