The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Malaysia talks business

Calcutta, Nov. 10: Malaysian high commissioner Dato’ S.K. Choo today said his country was interested in investing more in the state and hinted that an air link between Calcutta and Malaysia may soon become real.

After a meeting with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at Writers’ Buildings, Choo said the talks centred around likely air links, trade of edible oil and the possibility of having companies making “first-class” roads in Malaysia come to Bengal.

Asked how soon the flights could be expected, Choo said: “I am not an airlines operator. But we have done all we can to open our policies. Now the regional managers will discuss the matter. They will see the business possibilities with respect to other rival airlines.”

The high commissioner said Malaysia wants the number of flights to India to be increased to seven from four every week.

The high point of the meeting between Choo and Bhattacharjee, however, appeared to be construction of roads. “We are beginning to look very seriously into more investment in Bengal,” Choo said.

Referring to Bhattacharjee as a man who is “pro-business”, Choo said the chief minister has welcomed further investment in Bengal. “He understands our mutual needs and has extended his co-operation in every possible way.

“We have some great expertise in road construction in Malaysia. Now, the companies are looking for road works in India,” said Choo.

The keenness on the part of the Malaysian companies must be good news for Bhattacharjee’s government because it has already adopted a new policy on “private-public partnerships in infrastructure”.

“The other point of our discussion was edible oil. India needs edible oil and traditionally we have sold a lot of palm oil in Bengal,” Choo said. “The price of our oil is increasing as well as its demand. However, India has been a great partner of Malaysia, so we will make sure you can afford it.”

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