Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his three-day visit to Malaysia on Saturday with meetings with two former prime ministers, Tun Abdullah Badawi and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in a sign of the two countries' close ties.
Dr Mahathir said after the meeting that a new business association - the Cheng Ho Multicultural, Friendship and Business Association - will be set up to boost ties between Malaysian and mainland Chinese entrepreneurs.
Mr Xi supported the move, according to Dr Mahathir, whom The Star newspaper quoted as saying: "The name of the association is in remembrance of the contributions of the Admiral Cheng Ho."
He was referring to the non-pinyinised name for Admiral Zheng He, the Ming Dynasty Muslim admiral who sailed to Malacca five times during his seven voyages, thus establishing the first link between China and Malaysia.
Mr Xi arrived in Malaysia from Indonesia last Thursday, in his maiden visit to South-east Asia since assuming his post in March.
Indonesia signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement with China during Mr Xi's visit.
After their meeting on Friday, both Mr Xi and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak also agreed to lift bilateral ties to a similar comprehensive strategic relationship.
Mr Xi left for Bali, Indonesia, on Saturday to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
In addition, a plan to build the first campus outside China for well-known Xiamen University received a big boost, with news of Malaysia's richest man, Mr Robert Kuok, announcing that he would be donating RM100 million (S$40 million) to the project.
The Hong Kong-based businessman, said by Forbes to be worth US$12.5 billion (S$15.6 billion) in March, would be donating for the construction of the campus' library complex.
The Xiamen University campus will be built in Salak Tinggi, Selangor state, at the edge of Kuala Lumpur.
Datuk Seri Najib had said on Friday that the campus will cost RM1.2 billion and will be built on 48.6ha of land. It would eventually have a student population of 10,000 from the region.
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