Huazong hopes govt could extend the lease of the two giant pandas, Xing Xing and Liang Liang

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has hoped that the government could extend the lease agreement of the two giant pandas, Xing Xing and Liang Liang with the Chinese government, so that the stay of the two ‘ambassadors’ of Malaysia-China bilateral relations in Malaysia can be extended.

Its President, Tan Sri T.C Goh noted that both Xing Xing and Liang Liang have been living in Malaysia for the last eight years and they are undeniably the ‘star attractions’ at the Zoo Negara; they are especially popular among the children.

Goh who is also a Director of the Malaysia-China Business Council (MCBS) cum Chairman of its Bilateral Policies said this in a statement issued today, while expressing his full support on Zoo Negara’s appeal to the government for the extension of the lease for the pair of giant pandas, when the lease expires in 2024.

He also commended the Zoo Negara for its excellent works in taking good care of the two giant pandas, and the three panda cubs that were produced by the pair subsequently, with the assistance of the team of Chinese panda experts, since 2014. As compared to the other giant pandas loaned to other countries, Xing Xing and Liang Liang have had the fastest reproduction under the good care of the Zoo Negara team, and such an outstanding achievement was well commended by their Chinese counterpart.

The pair of giant pandas originally named Fu Wa (male) and Feng Yi (female) were loaned to Malaysia to commemorate four decades of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China, in 2014, and they arrived in Malaysia on 21 May of the same year. The governments of Malaysia and China also organised a campaign to rename the pair, which resulted in Fu Wa being renamed as Xing Xing and Feng Yi renamed as Liang Liang. Their arrival also quickly set off the ‘panda frenzy’ in Malaysia.

On 18 August 2015 Xing Xing and Liang Liang gave birth to their first panda cub Nuan Nuan (female), and she was sent back to China when she was two years old, on 4 November 2017, in accordance with the lease agreement signed between Malaysia and China; The second panda cub, Yi Yi (female) was born on 14 January, 2018 and due to the persisting Covid-19 pandemic, she is currently still being kept at the Giant Panda Conservation Center of the Zoo Negara. She is expected to be repatriated back to China this year. And on 31 May last year, a day which coincided with the 47th anniversary of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations, another panda cub was born, and this time it was a male panda cub.

“Today, Zoo Negara has four giant pandas and Malaysia is their lovely ‘second home’,” quipped Goh.

He thus earnestly hoped that the government of Malaysia could extend the lease agreement of Xing Xing and Liang Liang when their 10-year lease expires in 2024.

He believed that, speaking from the perspective of diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China, a vast majority of Malaysians would wish that the giant pandas could continue to remain in Malaysia.

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