In Kuala Lumpur the Finland 100 Years reception was held at JW Marriott hotel on 6 December, with nearly 400 guests joining the Embassy of Finland in Malaysia to celebrate the special occasion. Dato’ P. Kamalanathan, Deputy Minister of Education were among those in attendance, bringing greetings from the Malaysian government.
The international choir Cantus Musicus graced the guests with its wonderful voice by singing the Finnish, Malaysian and EU national anthems. After Harith Iskander received an award of acknowledgement from Finland’s Ambassador Petri Puhakka for winning the “Funniest Person in the World” competition in Finnish Lapland last year.
In his speech Ambassador Petri Puhakka said: “The centenary of Finland’s independence culminates today on Finland’s Independence Day, 6 December 2017. The story of the 100-year-old Finland is quite extraordinary and rests on the values cherished by the Finns: democracy, education, equality and freedom of speech and expression. This epic year has been built in a unique and open way, together with the whole of society, Finns and friends of Finland, in more than 100 countries. It has been touching to see how many friends our country has all over the world, and we have invited everyone to join in the celebration with us.”
“Finland became an independent state on the 6th of December 1917. Finns willed the newly born state into being after a long struggle. The path has not always been easy, but for a hundred years we Finns have been engaged in the building of our country and making decisions together. The unbroken period of 100 years of democracy is quite exceptional.
“To succeed in a constantly changing world, you have to change as well. Finland has reinvented itself in just one short century – and we’re still at it. Changes can be seen in the major policies of society as well as in small everyday matters. In the century comparisons one can see the change with the help of figures from the early years of independence and the present day. I have selected a couple of examples here: Share of women of elected MPs: 1917, 9.0% (18 MPs) – 2015, 41.5% (83 MPs); Share of primary production in gross value added: 1917, 48.6% – 2016 2.7%: Share of those starting middle school/upper secondary school in the age group: 1920, around 7% – 2015, 52.5%,” said Petri Puhakka as he continued to highlight the small country of Finland’s achievement on a global scale.
”Even a small country can jump to the top of the world, and this is what Finland has done: in international country comparisons of positive things Finland is often among the top countries next to other Nordics.”
Petri Puhakka mentioned a short list of comparisons that speak for themselves. Among the comparisons mentioned were:Finland is the most stable country in the world. The Fund for Peace, Fragile States Index 2017; Finland’s judicial system is the most independent in the world, World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2017–2018: Judicial independence; and Finland has the third least corruption in the world, Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index 2016.
“As for our bilateral relations with Malaysia, I could say that the relations have always been very good. We have had a resident Ambassador in Kuala Lumpur since 1988. The interest of the Finnish business has been on a steady rise and the number of Finnish companies present here keeps on increasing. Malaysia is seen as an important and highly potential partner for Finland in the field of trade and economic cooperation,” said the Ambassador.
“Malaysia is a strong, dynamic and stable economic actor, and we admire the way you have been able to maintain a steady economic growth in the sometimes turbulent waters of the international economy. I am confident that there is still a lot of unused potential we can draw on, for example in the fields of clean technology, healthcare or education.”
“As the final part of the formalities all guests were presented with a wonderful multimedia presentation about Finland, where, through pictures, videos and music, the versatile and multilayered beauty our beloved country was truly visible,” reports the Embassy of Finland in Kuala Lumpur.
“None of this would have been possible without our partners Malaysian-Finnish Business Council, MaSu and the support from Finnish companies.”