Published on: Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: A delegation of Romanian businessmen would visit Sabah in the first quarter of next year to explore business opportunities between the East Malaysian State and Romania.
Romanian Ambassador, Constantin Nistor (pic) told Daily Express at a recent meeting at the 14th European Film Festival here that he hopes to improve ties between his country and Malaysia, especially East Malaysia with the appointment of Sabah businessman Datuk Clarence Bongkos Malukun as the Honorary Consul of Romania in Sabah.
Asked what business expertise Romania can offer Sabah, Nistor said: "The supply of oil and gas industrial equipment and applications. Romania has a long history of oil and gas business, the first oil well in the world was started in Romania, whilst Sabah is just about to start in a major way."
"Your Head of State visited Romania in October, and I had the pleasure of accompanying his delegation to Romania to see what Romania has. Our business delegation will reciprocate the visit to improve relationships."
Many baby-boomers and the Generation X in Sabah still fondly remember and many boys were infatuated by and many girls were inspired by beautiful Romanian gymnast Nadia Comneci, the only one in the world who scored a perfect 10 at the Olympics for gymnastics.
Romania is also the home of the film story mythical Dracula. The spine-chilling tale of Dracula was inspired by the 15th century Romanian Count Vlad Dracul whose son was famous in wartime for impaling captured enemies.
With a surface area of 238,391 square kilometres (92,043 sq m), Romania is the largest country in South-eastern Europe, and could be an inspiration to Sabah applying for its Ramsar site for the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Bird Park and World Heritage Site for the Maliau Basin.
"Almost half of all forests in Romania, have been managed for watershed conservation rather than production, Romania has one of the largest areas of undisturbed forest in Europe."
"There are almost 10,000 sq. km of protected areas in Romania covering 13 national parks and three biosphere reserves."
"The significance of the biodiversity of the Danube Delta has been internationally recognised. It was declared a Biosphere Reserve and a Ramsar site in May 1991, and over 50 per cent of its area was placed on the World Heritage list in December 1991."
"From a former Warsaw Pact member, Romania joined Nato on March 29, 2004, and the European Union on January 1, 2007."
Asked if he knew of any Romanian citizen working in Sabah, Nistor said he did not, but was surprised to learn that there is a Romanian lady, married to a local, working at the YTL Gaya Island Resort's food and beverage department in Gaya Island.
What Sabah or Malaysia can emulate from Romania is its Internet speed.
"In most international rankings, Romania is among the first places in the world based on the speed of internet service. According to Bloomberg in 2013, Romania is ranked fifth in the world and second in Europe in terms of internet connection speed, only being surpassed by Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, and Latvia."
However, unlike Ireland, which exited the IMF bailout last Dec 15, the Romanian authorities in Bucharest and the IMF agreed on a series of measures designed to help reduce the country's budget deficit in 2014, including higher excise duties and new property taxes.
An IMF mission is due in Bucharest in January.
The Romanian language remains as the only official language of Romania, but local councils ensure linguistic rights to all minorities who form over 11 per cent of the total population of 21.5 million. Foreign citizens and stateless persons that live in Romania have access to justice and education in their own language.
English and French are the main foreign languages taught in schools. English is spoken by 5-6 million Romanians, French is spoken by 4-5 million, and German, Italian and Spanish are each spoken by 1-2 million people.
Historically, French was the predominant foreign language spoken in Romania, but English has since superseded it. Romanian English-speakers tend to be younger than Romanian French-speakers.
In 2030, the population of Romania will reach 17.6 million, a decrease of 12.4 per cent from 2012.
The population will shrink due to negative net migration, increasing death rates, a fall in the number of women of childbearing age and the resulting drop in births.
By 2030, Romania will be the 12th oldest country in the world.
In comparison, in 2030, the population of Malaysia will reach 34.9 million, an increase of 23.5 per cent from 2010.