Malaysia screens tourism film in Saudi amid ongoing jet drama
Many dignitaries, diplomats, prominent Malaysian community members and movie lovers attended the event
As part of the 7th Asian Film Festival 2014, organized by the Asian Consuls General Club (ACGC), the Malaysian documentary film “Malaysia, your gateway to health and wellness” and a feature film “Tanda Putera” were screened at the open ground of the Malaysian Consulate in the Rehab district of Jeddah on Friday night. The screening took place as the search continues for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went missing last week.
The missing plane has cast a shadow on Malaysia's tourism industry, which is popular with Saudi tourists. Despite the news, the show went on as dignitaries, diplomats, prominent Malaysian community members and movie lovers attended the event. They were also given a taste of Malaysian food.
Welcoming the guests, Malaysian Consul General Khalid Abbasi Abdul Razak said: “Malaysian-Saudi relations are strong with the tourism sector showing a tremendous boost. Malaysia, as the most fascinating and popular destinations in the Islamic world, received a record 27.7 million tourists in 2013, generating $21.8 billion revenue.
“As in previous years, we received a total of 95,000 Saudi tourists in 2013. Besides enjoying holidays in Malaysia, a large number of Saudis availed of healthcare services noted for its world-class medical credentials, facilities and competencies at affordable prices."
Abdul Razak said Malaysia, as a center of education excellence, attracted more than 150,000 international students so far. Nearly 3,000 Saudi students are currently studying in various higher learning institutions in Malaysia.
The documentary “Malaysia, your gateway to health and wellness” was an introduction to healthcare in Malaysia, which is ranked among the world’s top five health tourism destinations.
Specializing in various fields from oncology to cardiology to aesthetics, Malaysia is capable of assisting with practically any requirement at a low cost. The film also featured Malaysia as a melting pot of exotic Asian cultures where breathtaking ultra-modern cityscapes meet the beauty of lush tropical forests, pristine beaches and delicious food.
Abdul Razak described “Tanda Putera” as a “historical factual movie”. It is set in the backdrop of the racial and political tension in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Directed by award winning Malaysian director Shuhaimi Baba, the film chronicles the life of the late Tun Abdul Razak (the father of present Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib) and how he came to power as the country’s second prime minister.
The film explores Razak’s relationship with his deputy Tun Ismail and how both of them struggled to bring peace to the nation. Both statesmen died in office while initiating and putting to work the new policies that brought peace, tranquility and development to Malaysia.
A traditional Malaysian song and dance performance was also included in the program. Wearing traditional Malaysian dress performers enthralled the audience while young Malaysian girls mesmerized the audience with a Malaysian song.
The Asian Film Festival in Jeddah started on March 10 and will conclude on March 31 with an Indonesian film night. Movies will be screened at eight different venues.
This article was first published in Saudi Gazette on March 17, 2014.