The Irish Chamber of Commerce in Malaysia ( ICCM) are taking the opportunity, in this St.Patrick’s week, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our accession to the European Union. There is no doubt that the decision made all those years ago has had the greatest impact on our country, our economy, on our peoples and on our social fabric than any since Ireland gained its independence from the British Empire 100 years ago this year. We are, as most countries in the EU, very proud of our nation and our culture and yet we are equivalently proud to call ourselves European. Our former Prime Minster Leo Varadker pronounced in his inaugural address to the European Union in 2018, that he was born a European and that status now represents the majority of the people in Ireland. It remains a disappointment and a challenge for Ireland in the decision of the UK to leave the EU in 2021, but we move on as loyal and committed Europeans, proud of our nationhood and our brotherhood in Europe.
As this applies to our ICCM mandate and our operations here in Malaysia, we are equally proud of the relationship we have and our commitment as a bilateral member of EUROCHAM, the European Chamber of Commerce in Malaysia. Over the past many years, our members have benefitted greatly from our common approach with EUROCHAM working with them and our bilateral partners in the other chambers of commerce here. We recognise our size and importance as a business entity in Malaysia is limited, however as a part of EUROCHAM we have a voice and we have meaningful representation at all levels of government, agency and business. This has been most apparent over the past two years of the Covid Pandemic, when as most around the world, our members were in a place of the unknown, dealing with constant change in government regulation and controls including immigration, border controls, labour management and the basic SOP’s of operating a business here. Thanks to our engagement with EUROCHAM, we had access to informational webinars, the latest updates, we had influence on thinking and decision process of government and we had a place where we could both share our members challenges and be in a position to improve their realities. We are so very grateful for all that to the operational team and board in EUROCHAM and to our bilateral partners. And now we look forward to the recovery of business and the economy in Malaysia post Covid Pandemic. Our role will continue as supporting and empowering our members in close co-operation and engagement with those same billateral partners and the super team in EUROCHAM under its operational leader Sven Schneider and it’s board Chairman, our very own Oliver Roche.
So on this special week for Ireland, in what is a special year for us as an Irish Nation, we wish all of our members, our associates, our ambassador Hilary Reily and embassy officials, our fellow Irish in Malaysia and throughout South East Asia, our bilateral partners, all in EUROCHAM and to all in this amazing country Malaysia we say, “Lá fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh go léir” ( Happy St. Patrick’s day).
In all of this we would also like to recognise the struggle and suffering of our fellow Europeans in the Ukraine. We had all hoped that the barbarity of war and the violation of the sovereignty and the human rights of a independent nation were something of the past, but sadly it has proven otherwise. At this time, we offer our support, deepest sympathy and best wishes to our brothers and sisters in Ukraine. We hope that a peaceful outcome can we found and in the meantime our fellow countrymen and women across Europe and the EU have already started supporting and embracing the 2.5 million refugees who have left Ukraine over the past 3 weeks.