TOKYO: Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was conferred the “Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers” by Emperor Akihito of Japan on Tuesday (Nov.6).
The Prime Minister was bestowed the Japan’s highest award following his contributions in strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.
The conferment ceremony was held at the Imperial Palace here at 9.45am local time (8.45am Malaysian time). The order is the highest award that can be conferred upon foreign statesmen for their contribution towards the bilateral relations between their respective countries and Japan, as well as their contributions to the region as reported by a news agency.
Dr. Mahathir is the third leader from Asia to receive the prestigious award after former Singapore prime Minister the late Lee Kuan Yew and former Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh.
Dr. Mahathir is on his three day working visit to Japan starting on Monday.
Meanwhile, he has also received an honorary doctorate from Tsukuba University on Monday (Nov 5).
In his speech at the conferment ceremony conducted by Tsukuba University president Prof. Kyosuke Nagata, Dr. Mahathir said: “When I (first) became prime minister (in 1981), I had introduced the Look East Policy, which was not just about acquiring knowledge, but also the character, lifestyle and values of the East.”
He said, the value of the Japanese Yen had become higher over the years. So one way to get Malaysians to learn more of the Japanese way of doing things was to get its universities to set up branch campuses.
“Tsukuba University could consider coming to Malaysia and setting up a branch campus. We are working hard on this. I hope they can overcome the obstruction and have a Japanese university in Malaysia to teach the language and culture.
“The cost will be much lower and Malaysia can become a centre for those from Asean to learn at a Japanese university without going to Japan,” he added – Malaysia World News.