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NEWSLETTER OF THE EMBASSY OF MALAYSIA IN THE HAGUE - SECOND HALF OF 2021 EDITION

FOREWORD BY THE AMBASSADOR

On the day of my arrival at Rumah Malaysia on 20 August 2021

Goedendag beste lezers! 

As this is the first time I am contributing to the newsletter, I would like to take the opportunity to share the highlight of some of the activities held during the first couple of months of my arrival and my main priorities during my tenure here in the Netherlands.

There has never been a dull moment since my arrival in this land of tulip and windmill on 20 August 2021. The presentation of letters of credence to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands on 8 September 2021 at Noordeinde Palace officially marked the beginning of my tenure as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Malaysia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The first few weeks were filled with introductory meetings with relevant stakeholders, including Heads of Diplomatic Missions in The Hague, the Dutch government’s senior officials and leaders of the Malaysian-Dutch community as well as business groups.

I also had the opportunity to meet with several Malaysians residing in the Netherlands and their families during the Malaysia Day’s celebration at Rumah Malaysia on 18 September 2021.

On the multilateral front, I presented my letter of credence to the Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on 27 September 2021. As The Hague hosts a large number of international organisations, our Embassy also covers both the bilateral and multilateral aspects of our foreign relations.

Malaysia and the Netherlands have strong bilateral relations, politically and economically, since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1957.  As Ambassador, I will focus on ensuring that our political relations continue to intensify post pandemic by working closely together with the Dutch side on issues of mutual interest. On the economic front, my priority is to further enhance trade and investment between Malaysia and the Netherlands. The Netherlands is the second largest trade and investment partner of Malaysia in the European Union and has a lot to offer Malaysia in terms of its logistical capabilities, technical know-how and strategic location.

At the same time, Malaysia as one of the vibrant economies in Asia, offers favourable climate for Dutch companies to expand or establish its operations in the country or as a gateway to ASEAN countries. Our trade, agriculture and tourism offices, which are part of the Embassy, have a stronghold in the Netherlands and play a vital role in promoting Malaysian products and services to the Dutch market.

In addition to focusing on political and economic relations, I strongly believe that it is equally important to strengthen people-to-people relations, especially through education and cultural cooperation. I plan to further explore potential opportunities available to realise this.

As for Malaysia’s role at the multilateral fora, Malaysia is slated to become a member of the OPCW Executive Council for the term 2022-2024, representing the Asia Group. The last time we were in the Executive Council was in 2014-2016. As Malaysia is committed to the full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, I am looking forward to participate actively in the Council and to contribute to the objectives and mandates of the OPCW.

On this note, it is my pleasure to present to you the third volume of the Embassy’s newsletter that covers the activities throughout the period July-September 2021. We hope that De Haagse Brug will provide readers an insight into the roles and of the Embassy.

Veel leesplezier, fijne Kerst en een gelukkig nieuwjaar! 

H.E. Dato’ Nadzirah Osman, Ambassador of Malaysia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands

On my first day at the office on 23 August 2021 with the Home Based Staff
On my first day at the office on 23 August 2021 with the Locally Recruited Staff

Table of Contents

PRESENTATION OF CREDENTIALS

H.E. Dato’ Nadzirah Osman presented her letter of credence as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Malaysia to the King of the Netherlands, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander at Noordeinde Palace on 8 September 2021.

H.E. Dato’ Nadzirah Osman was driven in a ceremonial state coach, drawn by two horses, accompanied by his spouse, YBhg. Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mohd Yazid Abd Manap.  Upon arrival, the military band played the Malaysian national anthem “Negaraku” and the Ambassador inspected the Guard of Honour. Inside the palace, the presentation of the Ambassador’s letters of credence was followed by a short talk with the King. An article by the Diplomat Magazine can be found from this link https://diplomatmagazine.eu/2021/09/14/malaysia-ambassador-present-letters-of-credence/?fbclid=IwAR2PnUbwHT7beRP0yd0G_F6G3sZk8yNoTaqo1hVExy1E_YxzD3pIouqaFTw

BILATERAL

Virtual Meeting with H.E. Aart Jacobi, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Malaysia

H.E Dato’ Nadzirah Osman had a virtual meeting with H.E. Aart Jacobi, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Malaysia on 24 November 2021. They discussed various issues of mutual interest and agreed to have regular meetings in the future.

Visit by the Chief of Navy of Malaysia

Admiral Tan Sri Mohd Reza Mohd Sany, Chief of Navy visited the Netherlands from 16 to 20 November 2021. The main purpose of the visit was for TS CN and delegation to attend the NIDV Exhibition Defence and Security (NEDS) in Rotterdam. TS Chief Navy, accompanied by his officers and H.E. Dato’ Nadzirah Osman also visited Damen Shipyard in Gorinchem and Thales Group in Hangelo. They were briefed about both companies specialties in shipyard building and combat management system, respectively.

MULTILATERAL

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

Presentation of Letter of Credentials

H.E. Dato’ Nadzirah Osman presented her letter of credence as the Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the OPCW at the OPCW building today, followed by a meeting with H.E. Fernando Arias, DG of OPCW and officials from the Technical Secretariat. They discussed issues of mutual concerns, with emphasis on the need to leverage the ChemTech Centre as a centre of excellence in the field of chemistry in building expertise among the States Parties.

Facilitation of Article XI of Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)

The Embassy is committed in Malaysia’s role as the Facilitator of Article XI, throughout 2021. Ms. F.H. Shifa Kusumaningrum, First Secretary of the Embassy, in her capacity as the Article XI Facilitator held six meetings of Article XI Drafting Committee (AXIDC) this year. The AXIDC is represented by all the five regional groups of OPCW States Parties. The Facilitator also moderated the Article XI Informal Consultations prior to the 96th, 97th and 98th sessions of the Executive Council (EC) on in February, June and September as well as the annual Review and Evaluation Workshop on 10 November 2021. The Technical Secretariat (TS) of the OPCW has been of great assistance throughout the year and continuous engagements are being held intersessionally for the purpose of preparation, coordination and post-mortem pertaining the work of the facilitation. A press release on the Workshop was issued on the OPCW website https://www.opcw.org/media-centre/news/2021/11/opcw-member-states-review-progress-towards-full-implementation-article-xi.

“First Pillar Ceremony” for OPCW ChemTech Centre

The OPCW Director General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, hosted a First Pillar ceremony marking the start of the construction of the new OPCW Centre for Chemistry and Technology (ChemTech Centre) in Pijnacker-Nootdorp, outside The Hague on 24 September 2021. During the ceremony, the DG, the Deputy DG, Chairperson of construction company Dura Vermeer and the Managing Partner of Ector Hoogstad Architects secured the first pillar of the Centre in place. H.E. Dato’ Nadzirah Osman, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the OPCW was among the attendees. The Centre will bring together the OPCW Laboratory, Equipment Store, and a range of state-of-the-art training facilities for enhanced research, analysis, and capacity building. It will also serve as a knowledge repository to tackle chemical threats worldwide as well as a platform to promote expert dialogue, exchange, and collaboration. Additionally, a new logistics centre and training facilities will significantly enhance the professional development of OPCW inspectors, mission preparations, and support deployments. Malaysia made a financial contribution of €10,000, which was formalised during a ceremony held at the OPCW Headquarters on 14 October 2020.

Participation at the CSP-26 and EC-98

H.E. Dato’ Nadzirah Osman, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the OPCW attended the 26th Session of the Conference of the States Parties (CSP-26) which was held from 29 November until 3 December 2021. Malaysia also observed the 98th Executive Council Session (EC-98) held in October 2021 as well as participated in informal consultations and NAM meetings leading up to EC-98.

 

The CSP-26 adopted decisions on biennial budget 2022-2023; the understanding of the aerosolised use of central-nervous system acting chemical for law enforcement purposes; and the re-appointment of the Director-General to a second term. Malaysia was also one of the members of the Credentials Committee, representing the Asia Group for the CSP-26. Upon election by the Conference, Malaysia is elected as one of the OPCW Executive Council members for the term beginning from May 2022 until May 2024. We are honoured to be elected and are committed to contribute to the efforts towards a world free of chemical weapons.

Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

204th Meeting of the PCA Administrative Council

H.E Dato’ Nadzirah Osman virtually attended the 204th Administrative Council Meeting of Permanent Court of Arbitration-PCA , chaired by H.E Vusimuzi Philemon Madonsela of South Africa on 25 November 2021. The meeting, among others, approved the budget for 2022 and discussed the election procedure for the new Secretary-General to be held next year. Malaysia gave assurance of its continuos support to the organisation.

Courtesy Meetings

ENGAGEMENT

Snapshots of H.E. Dato’ Nadzirah Osman’s engagements with Heads of Missions based in The Hague, Senior Officials of Dutch the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other stakeholders (please click the photos for captions). H.E. Dato’ Ambassador also met with Ambassador of Albania, Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea (ROK), Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Head of Missions based in The Hague

Other stakeholders

Senior Officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

ASEAN

As part of the ASEAN Committee in The Hague (ACTH), Malaysia participated actively in its activities. For the second half of 2021, H.E. Dato’ Nadzirah Osman joined ASEAN colleagues in a visit to Brainport Eindhoven on 30 September 2021, which covered the High Tech Campus Eindhoven and Brainport Industries Campus. On 19 November 2021, Malaysia attended the ACTH Principals meeting held at the Vietnamese Embassy which saw the handover of ACTH Chairmanship from Vietnam to Thailand. As practices previously, the Chair of ACTH would host a reception on the sideline of CSP. Due to CVODI-19 restrictions, Thailand hosted a virtual reception for ASEAN OPCW States Parties. Everyone received a dinner box prior to the virtual session. ACTH is also in close contact with the ASEAN Ambassadors based in Brussels who are accredited to the Netherlands and would always find opportunity to engage with one another.

MATRADE

Visit to Europort 2021

H.E Dato’ Nadzirah Osman visited Europort 2021 in Rotterdam Ahoy, accompanied by Counsellor (Trade). Europort is the premier exhibition for maritime representing all areas of the shipbuilding industry. H.E Ambassador also met with key industry players such as Netherlands Maritime Technology, Royal IHC, Radio Holland, HMSA, Drager, etc. Some have indicated interest to join DSA 2022 and OTC Asia 2022, and some are in the midst of identifying potential Malaysia partners for future collaborations.

AGRICULTURE OFFICE

Malaysian Flavours in Europe (#MYFlavoursEurope)

Malaysian Flavours in Europe was held from 8 to 12 September 2021 through five series of cooking demonstrations from Europe-based Malaysian cooks and chefs involving four countries such as The Netherlands, Germany, Hungary and United Kingdom (UK). This program is a collaboration with Masters of Malaysian Cuisines (MOMC), The Embassies of Malaysia, Tourism Malaysia, MATRADE & FAMA to provide a greater outreach across Europe. We were also honoured to have HE Dato’ Nadzirah Osman, who is also the Ambassador of Malaysia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands as well as the High Commissioner of Malaysia to the UK, the Ambassador of Malaysia to Hungary and the Consul General of Malaysia to Frankfurt who gave their welcoming remarks for each session.

This collaboration was tailored to promote Malaysian culinary through Malaysian food products and tropical fruits in a series of cooking demonstrations. The main objective of the program was to increase demand for Malaysian ingredients in Europe and increase the accessibility of these products. The program was also aimed at promoting Malaysian flavours, which could be combined with European cooking as part of creating awareness on the huge potential for Malaysian products in the European market. The program was also supported by TV host and head chef of Restoran Rebung in Malaysia, Dato’ Ismail Ahmad, including influencers such as Mark O’Dea and TheJetlag Warriors.

TOURISM MALAYSIA

Tourism Malaysia The Hague continues on promoting Malaysia in the Benelux to maximise resources, restore confidence and to stay visible in the market. While the first quarter of 2021 was all about discussing and planning promotion possibilities with our local and Malaysian stakeholders, the second and third quarter was focused on carrying out digital conferences and virtual activities. Please find below a selection of the digital conferences and activities carried out.

Virtual Experience – Melaka

On Wednesday, the 7 July 2021, Melaka celebrated World Heritage Day. The celebration was organized by the Melaka World Heritage Office with the cooperation of Melaka City Hall, Melaka Museum Corporation and Tourism Melaka. In conjunction with the celebration, Explore Malaysia Virtually and Buddyz, contributed a FREE Virtual Live On-Site Experience –named: “Revealing the Dutch legacy”. The virtual experience focused on the Dutch section in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Langkawi & product update by Mega Water Sports

In view of Langkawi Tourism Recovery plan and the plan by government of Malaysia to make Langkawi part of a pilot project on travel bubble destinations to re-open the tourism sector, TM The Hague initiated a presentation on Langkawi & product update by Mega Water Sports, that took place on Wednesday August 4th.

TM The Hague invited all overseas tourism offices from AERO division (America, Europe and Oceania) to attend this meeting and learn more regarding the conditions, SOP’s, as well the product update by Mega Water Sports, a provider of water sports and tours based in Langkawi. During the presentation, interesting information and views have been shared. We hope to start the promotion for the re-opening of Langkawi for international tourism soon.

ANTOR Meeting

On 28 September 2021, the first physical meeting of ANTOR since the outbreak of Covid-19 took place. ANTOR Netherlands is the Association of National Tourist Office Representatives in the Netherlands. Via member meetings ANTOR stimulates the exchange of views, ideas and experiences among tourist office employees.

Ms. Rosbi Mamat, Director of TM The Hague joint the Directors meeting together with other directors from national tourism offices. The meeting updated on the current Covid-19 situation and market scenario by the country members. Covid-19 has changed the whole landscape of the tourism industry. The past may no longer be relevant, valid and be of practise for the upcoming post pandemic/ endemic present and upcoming future travels.

The meeting took place at NDSM wharf in Amsterdam. After the meeting, all members were given a fascinating tour of the NDSM island. The afternoon ended with a summer borrel and a farewell of two former board members.

COLLABORATION

Malaysian Fruits and Food Week (MFFW) 2021

Malaysian Fruits and Food Week (MFFW) 2021 was held from 25 September to 2 November 2021, together with a closed food-tasting session with food bloggers on 25 September 2021 at Wah Nam Hong (WNH), Westfield Mall of the Netherlands. The Agriculture Office, MATRADE and Tourism Malaysia in The Hague jointly organized the programme.

This is the second year this programme was undertaken in collaboration with WNH Netherlands and as compared to last year, durian and durian-based products were introduced this year. Some of Malaysian tropical fruits assortments were also promoted such as jackfruit, mangosteen, papaya and dragon fruit. In addition to tropical fruits, Malaysian food products have also been promoted in-store in five WNH’s outlets across the Netherlands and through their online webshop.

The food bloggers who attended the closed session on 25 September 2021 comprised Mijn SmaakBonusVegan and The Spiced Chickpea. All Instagram stories are saved in the #MFFW2021 highlights on the Instagram page of Tourism Malaysia The Hague.  A short video of the program was also published on the Embassy’s Facebook page on 27 September 2021.

 

Taste of Malaysia

The ‘Taste of Malaysia’ took place from 10 until 23 Nov 2021 at all Amazing Oriental outlets across the Netherlands. The programme was a collaboration between the Embassy, the Agriculture Office, MATRADE and the Tourism Malaysia Office in The Hague. Cooking demonstrations were held on 20 and 21 November 2021 at Ypenburg outlet on selected Malaysian products. Product sold can be ordered from www.orientalwebshop.nl.

ACTIVITIES

Malaysia Day

The Embassy hosted Malaysia Day celebration at Rumah Malaysia in Wassenaar on 18 September 2021. Around 150 Malaysians based in the Netherlands attended the event. H.E. Dato’ Nadzirah Osman gave her opening remarks after national anthem “Negaraku” was played. Malaysian delicacies such as Sate, Nasi Lemak, Roti Jala and traditional kuih-muih were served on that day. Guests also participated in musical chairs game that came with gifts sponsored by the Agriculture Office, MATRADE and Tourism Malaysia.

Hari Sukan Negara

The Embassy staffs had a morning walk on 8 October 2021 to the Peace Palace, followed by table tennis games in conjunction with “Hari Sukan Negara 2021”. Due to Covid-19 pandemic, participation was limited. The Embassy plans to have more sport and recreational activities in the future, once more restrictions are lifted.

Quran Hour

The Embassy staffs and several close Malaysian friends participated in the nationwide programme “Malaysia #QuranHour 1443H/2021″ on 30 August 2021. We recited the Surah Yaseen and conducted a Tahleel, remembering the passing of one of our local staffs the week before and our family members who had left us.

MALAYSIANS IN THE NETHERLANDS

Malaysian Students’ Council in the Netherlands (MSCN)

In recent years, Dutch higher education has gained great traction as an alternative pathway for Malaysian students. Yet, without a known home student body, many felt disconnected and alone despite having lived within the same cities for years. Therefore, the Malaysian Students’ Council in the Netherlands (MSCN) was formed. 

Since its inception in May 2021, MSCN has been progressively establishing its local community presence; connecting fellow Malaysians together. As a result, its member base has grown both numerically and geographically including those not situated in the populated Randstad region of the country, 14 of whom make up the organisation’s committee. 

MSCN understands the unique position it finds itself: being a haven for Malaysian students to feel belonged while away from home. As such, MSCN aims to provide its members not only social and cultural engagements but as well as professional development through the variety of events and projects it has planned.
Its first flagship event – its Pre-Arrival Welcome – held virtually in August 2021, attracted over 30 new students who embarked on their academic journeys this academic year. During the event, participants held discussions with the MSCN committee members and numerous Malaysian alumni who shared their personal experiences of living and studying in the Netherlands.

 

MSCN’s core values emphasises on facilitating an environment to celebrate and share our Malaysian culture and diverse heritage. One of the ways it achieves this is by participating in positive engagements with other similarly formed student associations across the country. These cultural exchange opportunities between respective members promote and enhance the overall international student community development here.
With the great accomplishments it has made within its first five months, MSCN aims to follow through on this path of positive, forward progress and strengthen its sense of community among its members.

 

CONTACT DETAILS

Embassy of Malaysia

Rustenburgweg 2
2517KE, The Hague
The Netherlands

070-3506506
mwthehague@kln.gov.my

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