Interview with Her Excellency Sarah Al Bakri Devadason at the closing ceremony of ITB Berlin 2018, where we asked her how she is settling into Berlin.
I arrived in Berlin in October, presented by credentials to the Federal President in November. I find the people in Berlin and the rest of Germany are very welcoming. Malaysia has very close trade relations with Germany, so every year our minister of international trade comes here to visit different cities.
I have been in contact with officials at the Federal Foreign Office, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. In the short time I have been here, I have been involved in the Asia Business Insights in Düsseldorf, where I participated in the Ambassadors’ Power Talk. There have been various meetings with the Asia Pacific Committee and we have been working on highlighting ASEAN, because by 2050, we expect ASEAN to be then fourth largest economy. While a lot of discussion is about China, there are also efforts to promote ASEAN, and Malaysia as a hub for the ASEAN region.
You must be very happy about the new direct air link between Frankfurt and Kuala Lumpur, as Condor opens a service in November.
Yes, very much. We look forward to that being a success, and that’s something we hope will be able to highlight Malaysia here.
You seem very keen to promote Malaysia…
Indeed, I am always open to visitors from the business community or the cultural side – people who would like to come to me at our Embassy to discuss or find out more about Malaysia.
ITB Berlin is a mega-event – the biggest travel show in the world. Having Malaysia being the Official Partner Country next year – how do you feel about that, and how important is it for Malaysia?
It’s very important. It’s an even we will really have to take advantage of as country partner. I have met many people in the past few days who are looking forward to seeing what it will be like when Malaysia is country partner. We have so much to share. The challenge will be to share as much as possible of the 14 states in Malaysia.