New Danish Ambassador to Malaysia H.E. Børge Petersen arrived in Kuala Lumpur in February 2004 and has since then had a very active life, both officially and privately. During his first couple of months he has been visiting 32 Danish companies and 4 Danish supported environmental projects to get a feeling not only of the country Malaysia but also why Danish companies are established here and have been for years.
H.E. Børge Petersen thinks that being appointed as Danish Ambassador to Malaysia is a dream posting for both him and his wife Jytte with whom he has been happily married to for 32 years. They both love being overseas and are looking forward to learn more about the country Malaysia and its people as well as the Danish community living here.
The ambassador also believes in great possibilities for Danish companies in Malaysia and is looking forward to being part of developing this further.
The new ambassador seems to be very focused, dedicated and absolutely a man of action. Not only has he visited a large number of Danish companies and projects in Malaysia, he has also visited and held discussions with ministers/ministries as well as authorities in a number of states around the country.
At this point in time he is involved in organizing two Danish business delegations visiting Malaysia this year and is planning to head a delegation of Danish business interests to go to Sarawak in September and a delegation for Sabah in February next year.
A bridge builder
H.E. Børge Petersen’s business background shines through, as does his broad knowledge and experience base from postings in Germany, Saudi Arabia, USA and Taiwan. His main focus areas while being in Malaysia will be the economic and commercial area as well as the environmental cooperation program that Denmark has with Malaysia.
“As Ambassador I see my role as a door opener for Danish companies and Danish interests in Malaysia… or as a bridge builder trying to connect Malaysian authorities that I see could have a need for products and services of Danish companies, whether in Denmark or already based in Malaysia,” H.E. Børge Petersen explains.
“My job is also about eyeing opportunities for new initiatives where Danish interests could be involved. For instance, during a meeting with the Chief Minister of the State of Melaka we discussed the situation of hearing impaired. I told him about Danish developed almost invisible hearing aids and immediately got his attention. I hope that this little seed of information could grow into further exports from Denmark,” he says and continues with another example:
“During a meeting with the Minister of Energy, Water and Communications we discussed the situation of leakage of water in the water supply pipelines. I informed the minister of the Danish experiences of repairing such lines without digging up the pipes but repair the pipelines while in the ground. The curiosity of the ministers was immediately aroused and it was agreed to arrange a seminar in Malaysia at which Danish companies had the opportunity to present their suggestions and solutions.
Expansion areas in Malaysia
In fact, H.E. Børge Petersen sees many opportunities to expand Danish interests in Malaysia, one of these areas being within healthcare with particular focus on pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, biotech and rehabilitation of handicapped, all areas where Danish companies have a lot to offer Malaysia.
Agriculture also poses a large potential for Danish interests as Malaysia politically wishes to develop this sector into an economic growth engine for the country. The ambassador mentions areas such as packaging, knowledge transfer plus food processing machinery and equipment as a potential for Danish companies to expand into the Malaysian agricultural sector.
On the other hand, Malaysia also has a lot to offer Danish companies as a supplier of electronic gadgets, parts etc., in particular for those Danish companies not being able to order large enough quantities from countries such as China.
Sourcing for medium sized companies in other words will be part of the focus for the coming years in Malaysia starting with a Danish delegation visiting Malaysia (and Singapore) in September. The visit is organized together with the Danish Chamber of Commerce in Denmark and will be led by Mr. Henning Dyremose, Chairman of the Board of the Danish Trade Council (Danmarks Eksportråd), which is part of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A second Danish delegation organized together with the Confederation of Danish Industries is expected in November. This delegation will visit Penang (and Shanghai).
Invitation for a trade visit to Sabah and Sarawak
“I see a great challenge in connecting Danish interest with Malaysian needs. As an example I would like to get Danish companies more involved in the states of Sabah and Sarawak as I see a huge potential there. Denmark is well known in those two states for the many environmental projects that Denmark has been involved in. Having this in mind we are presently focusing on infrastructure in a broad sense as well as public projects and hope to get a solid and dedicated delegation together for our visit to Sabah this autumn and for Sarawak in February next year. What I in particular have in mind are Danish companies within environment, water supply, waste management, oil and gas and construction,” the ambassador explains and points out that Danish companies from other countries in the region are welcome.
“The planned visits are a spin-off from a vision where I hope that Denmark can help Malaysia emphasize more on the environment as well as implement more sustainable environmental activities. We owe that to future generations,” the ambassador emphasizes and says that Denmark as part of the Malaysian Danish Environmental Cooperation Programme 2003-2006 assists Malaysia in drafting the next five year development plan, i.e. 9th Malaysian Plan on environment and sustainable development. The cooperation focuses upon environmental planning, energy efficiency and renewable energy, solid waste and bio-diversity.
Board member of the Malaysian-Danish Business council
The busy Danish Ambassador has also found time to join the Malaysian-Danish Business Council (MDBC) in Kuala Lumpur – of which the president is Tan Sri Dato’ Seri B. Bek-Nielsen – and has already been appointed as a board member and put his special brand of enthusiasm to future plans.
These plans include networking and themed meetings covering subjects such as the Malaysian labor law, immigration aspects and focus on future growth markets within ASEAN.
Also in the planning is input about the Malaysian economic development, input which it is hoped can be used by Danish companies in Malaysia for their annual reports.
A busy social schedule too
H.E. Børge Petersen and wife Jytte Petersen, who has retired as a physiotherapist, has had an extra job added to official duties. They are looking for a new residence. The new ambassador couple is temporarily in a serviced apartment.
In the meantime, they spend their spare time playing golf which they both love (we have promised not to mention any handicaps here!), walking their 1 ½ year old red-hared dachshund Tessie, and getting acquainted with Danes in Malaysia. In fact, they are already getting known as the “perfect hosts”, when they are not performing official social duties in the evenings.
Denmark has found a warm and dedicated Ambassador to Malaysia in H.E. Børge Petersen and wife Jytte Petersen.