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31.07.2019 09:36 Age: 26 Tage
Category: Geographie
By: Kiese

Truly Asia: SINMALINA 2019 Field Trip Travels Through Malaysia


RUB students enjoying a river cruise in Malacca, which received another boost as a tourist destination when designated UNESCO world heritage site in 2008. Photo by Matthias Kiese

SINMALINA 2019 group with Prof Lee Boon-thong in front of the Prime Minister’s Office, which is connected to the International Convention Centre on the opposite side of Putrajaya by a straight 4.5 km magistral road. Photo by Malaysian Tour Guide Fahmi

Picture 3 RUB students at Merdeka Square in the heart of Malaysia’s Capital Kuala Lumpur, which is about to add another 118-storey skyscraper to its already impressive skyline. Photo by Malaysian Tour Guide Fahmi

"Malaysia - Truly Asia" is the well-known marketing slogan of Malaysia, partner country on this year's travel trade show ITB Berlin. On Sunday, the SINMALINA 2019 field trip group crossed the Second Link checkpoint on the Western tip of Singapore to conquer its third and last, but not least country. First they explored recent developments in Malaysia's federal state of Johor, leveraging on the proximity to Singapore. Driven by investment from China, a large-scale property development called Forest City should eventually house up to 700,000 residents once the construction on reclaimed land is completed.

After a ride on Malaysia's North-South highway running all the way from Johor in the South to the Thai border in the North, the group travelled to the historic town and UNESCO world heritage site of Malacca. A walking tour provided an overview, before they visited Infineon's 9,000 staff assembly and testing plant on Monday. Since its opening in 1973, Germany's leading semiconductor manufacturer invested about four billion US$ in Malaysia, showing strong commitment to the country and its stable business environment. In the afternoon, the group was welcomed by Malacca's Economic Development Office to discuss the state's achievements and challenges.

On Tuesday, the students proceeded towards Kuala Lumpur and learned about the Sepang Formular 1 racing course and KL's International Airport along the way. These are the southernmost exponents of a string of prestigious developments highlighting Malaysia's ambitions as an emerging economy. They were completed some twenty years ago, along with Malaysia's new administrative Capital, Putrajaya, and neighbouring Cyberjaya, the country's response to Silicon Valley. In Putrajaya, a surprise guest of honour joined the group. Geography Professor Lee Boon-thong provoked some thoughts about decontextualisation, fragmented urban planning and ethnic exclusion in this flagship project, which cost the government a whopping 25 billion US$ but only reached one third of its population target until today.

Thanks to the installation of Malaysia's new king adding another public holiday, the group managed to enter Kuala Lumpur without one of its notorious traffic jams and went straight on a walking tour of the city. The remaining three days of their programme will include visits to the Malaysian Investment Development Corporation (MIDA), the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the University of Malaya's Department of Urban and Regional Planning, as well as Elektrisola. Opened in 1990 in the hillside north of Kuala Lumpur, this plant is a subsidiary of the world market leader in the manufacturing of copper wire smaller than 0.15 mm in diameter. Headquartered in Reichshof (Oberbergischer Kreis, NRW), family-owned Elektrisola is a typical example of a Hidden Champion from the German countryside. Visits to the Royal Selangor Pewter Factory, Genting Highlands and the Batu Caves will complete the colourful and exciting itinerary.

 

Kuala Lumpur, 30 July 2019

Matthias Kiese