Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak encouraged his citizens to learn Mandarin as China emerges to be an economic superpower.
"Today, more Malays speak Mandarin than ever before - part of transforming Malaysia to help give us the vital business edge in years to come, as China consolidates its economic power," local Sinchew Daily quoted him as saying on Monday.
"We need more Malaysians, from every background and heritage, to win business for us with China," he added.
The prime minister stressed his family's special relationship with China.
His father, Malaysia's second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein established diplomatic relations with China in 1974 a legacy that Najib pledged to maintain.
Najib's 21-year-old son Norashman Razak Mohd Najib, who is currently an undergraduate student, had last year completed a Mandarin course at Beijing Foreign Studies University.
"I am reminded of the Chinese saying, "no matter how poor we are, we will not compromise on education," he told reporters, while expressing his admiration for the role and contribution of the ethnic Chinese towards education.
Ethnic Chinese account for about 23 percent of Malaysia's population.
(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2011)